The Lake At Kew Gardens

John Hare

Thornton-Cleveleys, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Shot from Sackler’s Crossing at The Royal Horticultural Society Kew Gardens London.

Single image tone mapped in Photomatix with Orton layer applied in photoshop.

Nikon D5000 & Nikkor 18mm-5mm @29mm. ISO 200, f13 1/200

The present Lake, situated further west towards the Thames, was created by Sir William Hooker in the late 1840s. In 1848, Hooker told the Board of Woods and Forests that he wanted an “open flow of water through a portion of the pleasure grounds”. What he did was extend the gravel pits which were then being excavated to provide spoil for the foundations of the Temperate House. A plan for the Lake from 1855 shows how the shape of the southern shore was arrived at by retaining existing clusters of trees, which was Hooker’s Pinetum. Some of these trees may still stand today.

Underground culverts were created to connect the Lake with the Thames, and it was filled for the first time in 1861. The 4 1/2 acres (1.82 ha) of Lake created by Sir William were extended by a further half acre (0.2 ha) by his son Joseph, who said he was “Trying to make our very ugly lake an ornamental piece of water with a gang of 50-60 navvies”. Joseph Hooker also extended his father’s plantings around the edges of the Lake and in later years, the next Director, Sir William Thiselton-Dyer, decided that the islands “should be heavily wooded with well disposed clumps of trees. These give effects of light and shadow on the water which are often in striking contrast”. He landscaped the Lake to this effect at the end of the 19th century.


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