Thirteen fantastic structuresfrom a Gothic-inspired tower and an Ottoman tent to American summerhouses and a faerie cottageawait exploration in Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden, Winterthur
s first-ever garden exhibition, on view now. Some of the follies are newly built structures based on classic and contemporary examples at estates elsewhere. Others are historic structures currently in the garden that visitors have enjoyed for years. Together they form a delightful, entertaining, and fresh way for visitors to discover and experience the Winterthur Garden.
What is a Folly? A folly is a structure placed in a garden or landscape, built primarily for decoration, but suggesting through its appearance some other purpose. Follies amuse the observer, frame a vista, or pique the viewers curiosity. Follies are often placed to create a destination for visitors as they explore a garden or estate.
I dont know if Americans think of gazebos or summerhouses as follies, said Chris Strand, Brown Harrington Director of Garden and Estate. To most of us, they are a convenient place to have a picnic or sit and relax. Our founder Henry Francis du Pont was well traveled and university-educated in horticulture, and knew about follies, and their history.
Working closely on the garden design with this childhood friend, noted architect Marian Coffin, he relocated a number of historic structures to Winterthur and placed them to draw attention to particular views and provide a sense of place. We hope our visitors will absorb that as they walk through the garden and are delighted by this imaginative architecture.
The 60-acre Winterthur Garden is surrounded by nearly 1,000 acres of meadows, farmland, and waterways. The views in every direction are important to the whole. The paths are an integral part of to the overall design, curving rather than straight, following the contours of the land, passing around trees, drawing walkers into the garden. The garden itself is a perfect setting for follies.