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Queen Caroline's Monument

Stowe: Pegg's Terrace and Warden Hill Walk



Queen Caroline's Statue Queen Caroline's Monument was built around 1726 to honor her when she was Princess of Wales. At that time, her monument was located opposite the Rotunda to the east, and a formal canal was located between the two. Just to the north of the canal, on a rise that gave a commanding view of the immediate area and the formal gardens to the south of it, was a corresponding monument to her husband, the Prince. The names of both monuments were changed appropriately when George II ascended the throne in 1727.

At her end of the canal, the lawn was cut into the side of the hill in three sharp terraces, which became known as the Queen's Theatre. Her monument was surrounded on these terraces by statues of shepherds and shepherdesses. The photograph above left, showing the detail of Caroline's state robes, was taken by a member of the National Trust staff when the monument was restored in 1993. The photograph below right shows the entire monument, which consists of four fluted Ionic columns raised on a plinth and supporting a statue of the Queen.

Queen Caroline's Monument As the Survey points out, buildings and monuments were often moved at Stowe, and this one was relocated between 1762-64 when Earl Temple was making major garden design changes to the areas of the Rotunda and Sleeping Wood and the South Front that were intended to "naturalize" those areas of the garden. The formal plantings in both areas had been thinned or, in some cases, completely removed, the basin between the Rotunda and the Queen's Theatre was filled in, the sharp edges of the terraces surrounding it were softened, and the Queen's monument was taken down (though the King's Pillar remained in its place until 1840).

When the Gibbs' Building (also called at different times the Belvedere, the Temple of Fame, and the Temple of Diana) was removed and relocated to the northeastern end of the Grecian Valley as the Fane of Pastoral Poetry, Queen Caroline's Monument was re-erected on the site, where it stands today. It still faces the Rotunda, but it does so now from the west, where it sits on a rise near the western edge of the Home Park. From it are views (some blocked by vegetation) not only of the Rotunda but also of the Lake Pavilions and the Temple of Venus on Pegg's Terrace.

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John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College, jtatter@bsc.edu