Follies in Winterthur Garden a Playful Touch

Real Estate Agent with Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate

round windowOn display at Winterthur Museum until January 5, 2019, Follies--Architectural Whimsey in the Garden is a new exhibit which has been placed outside in nature, rather than inside this world-famous museum of period interiors and furnishings. (photo taken through Neoclassical Folly)

I had been walking in the gardens this past week mirrored follyand watching construction happen in "real time" and had a chance to speak to one of the craftsmen for some inside info.  As a Realtor, I had been curious about the building permit posted at the Mirrored Folly (garden follies have a long tradition in England). Does this mean a demolition permit is needed when it is taken down? It turns out that some of these follies have been built so that removing a few bolts will allow them to be taken down and carted to another location, perhaps at another garden. I asked what the mirrored shingles were made of and found they are plexiglas with a reflective surface on the under side.

So what all is included? Here is a list provided:


needles eyeNeedle’s Eye—Inspired by a folly constructed in the 18th century in Yorkshire, England, the Needle’s Eye floats on a pond adjacent to Winterthur’s main drive, creating reflections in the water and capturing visitors’ interest as they enter the estate. (Inside tip: they lowered the level of the pond to attach guide wires to the shore at the bottom and worked from a canoe).

Neoclassical Folly—
Modeled after the portico, or entrance, to a Greek temple or public building, this is and is a common design in garden architecture. The formality of the structure contrasts sharply with Winterthur’s meadow surrounding it.

Mirrored Folly—
This mirror-clad building reflectsinside mirror the surrounding Pinetum and is inspired by the porte cochère (covered entrance) of Winterthur’s historic train station. (View from inside mirrored folly)

Ottoman Tent—
An interpretation of a Turkish tent, reflecting the fashion ottomanfor tents and other decorative arts inspired by the Ottoman Empire, this folly is similar to examples of 18th-century exotic tents can be seen in England, France, and Northern Europe, preserved in museums and gardens.

Gothic Tower—
A Gothic-inspired folly that is similar to the towers, sham castles, and fake ruins, these were very popular in European landscapes in the 1700s and 1800s. These towers would be highly visible and would give a sense of age and importance to the property.

Chinese Pavilion—
This structure is inspired by the ChineseChinese House at Stowe Landscape Garden in Buckinghamshire, England. Stowe’s Chinese House is an example of the 18th-century fascination with Chinese objects and ornament. The illustrations on the exterior of Winterthur’s Chinese Pavilion are selections taken from the wallpaper in the Chinese Parlor, which visitors can see on a tour of the house. (This is the one I felt looked out of place set on concrete at the entrance to the building.)

Presented by Carolyn Roland, Your Older and Historic Homes Resource in Delaware and Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.



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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

This looks like a fun place to visit with some learning to be had also

Apr 01, 2018 07:07 PM #1
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Carolyn. I have never been to Winterthur but want to go. This sounds very magical.

Apr 02, 2018 05:58 AM #2
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Carolyn, I have a folly, called Gayle's Folly and it's my version of the mancave! Let me see if I can locate a photo to share of it. 

Repurposed barnwood, old tools from our property and a donated chair from a past client of mine. Love it!

Apr 17, 2018 08:34 AM #3
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Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA

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