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The Collector Earl’s Garden at Arundel Castle

The Collector Earl’s Garden at Arundel Castle

Location: Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Building Owner: Duke & Duchess of Norfolk
Architects & Designers: I & J Bannerman LTD
Builder/Main Contractor: Architectural Oak LTD
Wood Supplier: P & K Ewins & Vastern Timber
Wood Species: English Oak & Cedar

After two years of planning, and 13 months of carpentry, Architectural Oak Limited are proud to present their outstanding collection of works in “The Collector Earl’s Garden” at Arundel Castle, designed by I&J Bannerman.

A memorial to the 14th Earl of Arundel, a keen art collector and personal friend of the famous architect Inigo Jones, the garden contains monumental green oak structures created from Inigo’s drawings. It exhibits a bold and groundbreaking display of extraordinary craftsmanship and an inspired use of English oak.

Arundel Domed Pergolas

The recreations of the domed pergolas are taken from the famous Mytens portrait of the Countess of Arundel, which can be seen today in the castle’s drawing room and the results are magnificent.

The two pairs of arched domed oak pergolas measure 3m wide by 4.5 m high to base of dome and 15m long. The central domes in the middle of each pergola, adds another 2m in height each topped with a turned oak ball 500mm in diameter.

The pergolas are two very impressive structures, dividing the memorial gardens upper and lower levels. All timbers were sourced from managed woodlands in the UK and the geometry is something to be marvelled at.

All joints of the arched timbers are scarfed to create the tight curve and pegged using the traditional framing pegs.

A true display of carpentry skill, in years to come this pergola will be covered in hornbeam intended to create a shaded walkway, however the geometry it will cover will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Oberon’s Palace
The centrepiece of the garden is magical “Oberon’s Palace”. Framed with 2 5.5m high oak obelisks the work is perched on a raised platform of stone 10 feet high, the palace is an exact translation of Inigo Jones’s drawings. The English oak structure measures 7m wide, 5m deep and 9m high.

The decorative arch over the doorway is one solid piece of oak hand selected and a one in a million find. The curved piece of timber has a radius of 1.8 m diameter and is 500mm deep.

The detailing on the palace is impeccable, the oak has been patterned to give the rusticated appearance of stone, yet the oak gives a warm and inviting feel to the structure that has to be touched.

The corner timbers of the Palace were 5.5m long and 0.75m square – weighing around 4 tonnes each. Sourcing, handling and working these timbers was a massive undertaking.

The rectangular oak structure has 4 hanging turrets and a central circular lantern with 12 leaded glass windows and a higher dome clad in hand scalloped cedar shingles.

Oberon’s Palace displays a true testament to the beauty of wood, and the skill of the craftsmen and women at Architectural Oak Ltd.

From the planning stage and initial hand sourcing of these large sectioned timbers from Wobern Abbey, this Herculean structure couldn’t have been executed in a better material; the green oak sits perfectly in the impressive landscape and will age as gracefully as its majestic stone neighbour.

Arun Fountain
The Arun Fountain is to symbolise the start and strength of the river Arun. Two colossal, 3.3 meter high muscular carved oak figures stand either side of an archway holding up a platform of oak boulders and roof topped with a perfect scallop shell. The piece is backed with individually shaped oak shingles as though draped in ice.

Alongside the water are 7 pairs of turned, 1 meter high Oak urns on a 1m high oak plinths as part of the water feature and marking the pieces perimeter are a series of  square rusticated solid oak columns 3m high each topped with a solid turned and carved oak acorn.

These large pieces are a marvel to view, the large section timber were sourced from Wobern Abbey’s timber management scheme and the shingles from Architectural Oak’s Conservation department who sources from sustainable woodlands in the UK.

The Italian Door
In the lower section of “The Collector Earl’s Garden” stands the impressive ornate 5m tall green oak “Italian Door”. Framed between 2 segmented tapered columns which support an overhanging porch

This is a close interpretation of one of Inigo’s sketches from 1613-15  whilst on a tour of Italy with the Earl and his wife.

The Italian Door is a symbolic doorway to the chapel behind where the Earl is buried and adds another magical and fantastical element to this collection of work.