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William Kent, ca.1686–1748, British
The Cascade at Chiswick House, Middlesex: Elevation and Plan
between 1720 and 1735
Pen and gray ink with brown wash over graphite on medium, slightly textured, white laid paper bar scale of 1/3 inch to 1 foot, approximately
Sheet: 14 1/4 x 10 5/8 inches (36.2 x 27 cm)

Inscribed in feint graphite, lower right: "Chiswick"; and in pen, lower center, scale numbered: "1" to "8"

Watermarks: IHS Villedary

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | cascades | garden structures | water features
Associated Places:
Chiswick | Chiswick House | England | Europe | Greater London | United Kingdom
Associated People:
Boyle, Richard, third earl of Burlington and fourth earl of Cork (1694–1753), architect, collector, and patron of the arts
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
Curatorial Comment:
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The cascade at Chiswick House was part of William Kent's alterations to the gardens commissioned by his early patron Richard Boyle, third earl of Burlington (1694–1753). The structure was probably modified in two stages: first in the 1720s with the initial landscaping of Chiswick House; and then in about 1733 when it became a prominent feature at the end of the canal. As shown in this drawing, the design consists of a waterfall behind a bridge that connects the estate with Burlington Lane. Rather than the classical superstructure shown here, however, the executed work was built in a fully rustic manner, probably in reference to Italian prototypes that Kent admired on his travels. The cascade has recently been restored. The drawing appears to have been made by an office hand, probably by Kent's assistant, Henry Flitcroft. The freehand grey wash has been added by Kent and the superstructure altered to include a smaller arch, as indicated by the faint pencil lines on the sheet.
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