Arundel Castle
‘The Collector Earl’s Garden’, as we dubbed it, is not a recreation of a garden. It is more one imagined by us using all available historical data and concocted with a large pinch of interpretation, assorted additions and artifices, in an attempt to bring to life the garden belonging to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, and his wife Alathea at Arundel House. This London house of the Fitz Alans stood next to Somerset House, then a royal residence, between The Strand and the Thames, at the epicentre of the Jacobean world. Ancient baths, supposedly Roman, still exist on this site; before the Reformation it had been the town residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, then given to the Duke of Somerset, and sold to Henry Fitz Alan, 12th Earl of Arundel, in 1549. Thomas Howard is now remembered for being, among other things, an aesthete, patron of Rubens, Van Dyck and Inigo Jones, and possibly one of the most important collectors in the history of English art. Which is where the gardening story, one that had long gripped us and meant so much to his descendent, the current Duke of Norfolk, begins.


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