Friday, July 17, 2009

A view of Tetbury

Tetbury from Highgrove
8" x 10", pencil and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

After showing you the sketches of the views of and from the western aspect of Highgrove yesterday (see A visit to Highgrove - Thyme Walk and Lime Avenue), it occurred to me I could show you what it looks like on the other side of the house.

Above you can see yet another one of my 2 minute pencil sketches done during Wednesday's garden tour which was then completed with coloured pencils to the best of my colour memory's ability!

This then is the view you get when standing in front of the eastern aspect of the House. The front of Highgrove house and its main entrance look out over fields towards the town of Tetbury and the very tall spire of St Mary's, its Gothic revival church. One of the previous owners of Highgrove paid for the rebuilding of the spire on the understanding that he and his heirs could continue to enjoy an uninterruped view of it from Highgrove.

Sheep, horses and cattle graze in the fields in front of the house in the very pleasant parkland which has a mix of 200 year old wanuts and oak trees and new trees planted by the Prince. It all looked very like a Constable to me (see John Constable's Salisbury Cathedral from Lower Marsh Close, 1820 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington) - although my quickie sketch gets nowhere near the impact of a Constable landscape. (Memo to self - study Constable!)

Tetbury
The town derives its name from the Saxon Abbess Tetta who in 681 AD was granted land by Ethelred of Mercia to build a monastery.
Tetbury Town Council
Tetbury is sited on a hill - hence why the tall spire seems even more impressive!. It actually lies on the site of an ancient hill fort which then became the site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery in 681.

Architecture is one of the main interests of Prince Charles and I found out subsequently that Tetbury is regarded as a architectural gem. It became an important Cotswolds market town for the wool trade in the Middle Ages. Its town centre has a really impressive pillared Market House which was built in costwolds stone in 1655. It's still used for both markets and as a meeting place. On the day we visited it had a very nice small market where I bought a couple of lavendar plants and a bunch of lovely carrots!

In addition, many of the wool merchants houses apparently still look much as they did 300 years ago. I know I was very impressed by it as we passed through and would very much like to visit again to explore and draw.

So - if you are ever fortunate enough to be able to visit Highgrove, do make time to visit Tetbury as well and you won't be disappointed!

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