Today’s post comes from a recent trip to Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford upon Avon. As you know, I always feel incredibly proud to be from here; to have this as part of my heritage.
Back in 2016, work started on transforming this incredible garden. A massive 6 million pounds was spent. It ran behind schedule and a year later, I have finally managed to visit. It was incredible.
A brief history:
New Place was Shakespeare’s family home from 1597 to 1616, when he died. It was decided in 1759 that the house would be demolished to make way for a garden to commemorate the site and to allow visitors to make their own connection with Shakespeare.
Features of the original property are marked out and preserved, such as the family well. Some of these features were only unearthed once work began on the gardens.
Now I can relate to this because I spent a lot of time growing up in Stratford. I used to spend many a summer afternoon reading or seeing friends in the original gardens here. I was excited about what changes would have been made. But, I was worried that I wouldn’t feel my personal connection with the new greenery there.
Since I’ve been, I can honestly say I was worried about nothing. I felt so inspired in that garden. It’s hidden behind new incredibly impressive gates with a number of awe inspiring sculptures.
What I love:
First is a sculpture of the deeds to the house. ‘Murder’s shadow lifted. Shakespeare has the true title to his house.’
My favourite sculpture is by Jill Berelowitz and is called ‘His Mind’s Eye’. Cast in bronze, the sculpture shows the world nod a large tree. The interpretation is that the tree is Shakespeare (his influence) and the smoother side is visually showing the impact that Shakespeare has. The more bumpy side is yet to be influenced by Shakespeare. What do you think?
I also really liked the representation of Shakespeare’s chair and desk. This was amazing because you can cast your mind back, hundreds of years ago, to imagine Shakespeare writing such plays like The Tempest. I was convinced to have my photo taken. Not sure it’s my finest pose!
There are numerous sculptures around the garden depicting a range of Shakespeare’s plays. One of my favourites: Macbeth. I don’t claim to be knowledgable about sculptures. However, I do like to think about what elements are being shown. This intrigued me immensely; the merge of faces in particular.
Finally, the Knot Gardens are really quite lovely. They feature a rose in the middle with a variety of flowers outside. They smelt wonderful: the epitome of a summery day.
The couple of hours I spent here made me feel incredibly calm and at ease. This hidden gem really needs to be visited. I bought myself a year pass because I want to see the flowers change, the colours develop and deepen, the leaves fall and make a carpet on the floor, new life forming next year. I just had to share one of my great loves with you all.