Katherine 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.
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.