Presented by Mark Laird, associate professor, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto

Mark Laird has been working on the restoration of the 18th-century landscape garden at Painshill Park in Surrey, England, for more than 30 years. This remarkable garden, created by owner Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773, features beautiful and emotive landscapes that combined plants from all over the world with fantastical garden structures, or “follies.” Important visitors ranged from English artist William Gilpin to U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

Hamilton sold Painshill in 1773. The garden survived into the 20th century but suffered neglect in the postwar years, and some of Hamilton’s original folly structures collapsed or disappeared. In 1981, the Painshill Park Trust was created, and the garden has slowly been returned to its former glory. 

In this free lecture, Laird discusses the history of the garden as well as the replanting of the original shrubbery, flower gardens, and groves. He also illustrates the restoration and reconstruction of the garden’s numerous follies, including the Turkish Tent, Gothic Temple, Mausoleum, Hermitage, Grotto, and Temple of Bacchus—the project’s final reconstruction.

About Fall Lecture Weekend
On September 16 & 17, enjoy discussions inspired by Rienzi. Due to recent events, the first talk has been relocated to Bayou Bend’s Kilroy Visitor and Education Center; the second lecture takes place as scheduled at the MFAH in Brown Auditorium Theater, located in the Museum’s Law Building.

This program is free! Drop in to participate. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.


Education programs at Rienzi receive generous funding from the Sterling-Turner Foundation; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; the Carroll Sterling and Harris Masterson III Endowment; and the Caroline Wiess Law Endowment for Rienzi.