katherine_rossKatherine Ross has worked as a gardener at The Dartington Hall Trust for four years. She is currently researching the history of the gardens as part of her work, and hopes to bring some of the stories and history to life in her blogs.



In this blog, I’d like to give you a little insight into the George III lead urn located near the Sunny Border.

The urn sits at a T-junction: turning right will take you to the steps down to the Sunny Border and turning left will take you on a meandering all-access path to the same destination.

George III lead urn

Historically, the assumption has been made that the urn was bought by Beatrix Farrand since, according to the archived data, she was responsible for obtaining lead urns in 1938 (Gammin, 2003).

Originally the urn stood on a concrete plinth on a simple square base of York stone. In 2003 it was decided to place the urn on a roundel (or circular disc) of York stone paving slabs.

Percy Cane had used this disc shape to good effect elsewhere in the garden: the Bastian or Whispering Circle, the Henry Moore seat, the Temple, the Swan Fountain, the Tiltyard patio/approach to the swan steps, and the far end of tiltyard patio by a stone seat.

The urn works well as a focal-point: the grey catching the eye when you wander over the Great Lawn, drawing the visitor to approach, admire and then notice the path, which is all but hidden by the huge bulk of a Taxus baccata (yew), leading on into the heart of the garden.

Do look out for other lead urns in the garden, in particular around the Courtyard.




1. Gammin, G. (2003). Setting to Urn and Pedestal. Dartington.

2 thoughts on “Gardens blog: About the George III lead urn

  1. I visited Dartington Hall and gardens earlier this week. Can you tell me where to find out about the bronze horse/donkey and the very old Chinese (?) stone statue please

    1. Hi Theresa. The bronze donkey was made in 1935 by Willi Soukop, an Austrian artist who was part of the Arts and Crafts movement, and it was part of a gold award-winning Chelsea Flower Show exhibit. The donkey’s ear have been polished over 80 years by the hands of visitors rubbing them for good luck!
      Regarding the statue, do you mean Flora, perhaps? You can find out more about her here. Next time you come pop into our Visitor Centre – there’s a great gardens map which has loads of info about the things you can find here.

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