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The Seasons Fountain

Stowe: The Elysian Fields

This small monument on the northeast side of the Alder River commemorates James Thomson's poem of the same name, an excerpt of which is engraved on a brass plaque above the jet of water. The excerpt is from a passage describing Hagley Park, the seat of Sir George Lyttelton, a cousin of Earl Temple. In the poem, Thomson describes the gardens at both Stowe and Hagley as the perfect combination of nature and art, places that encourage contemplation. It is appropriate, therefore, that the Fountain was erected on the site of the former Temple of Contemplation.

Bevington says that "although it was erected by 1805, the detailed carving of the white marble, unique among the temples at Stowe, suggests that it is a relatively late construction, perhaps re-using a mantlepiece from the house."

This is not the only garden building to celebrate pastoral poetry, of which Thomson's poem is a prime example. In the northeast corner of the Grecian Valley, perhaps the least apparently contrived section of the garden, stands the Fane of Pastoral Poetry.

The Seasons Fountain "The Seasons Fountain in the evening light

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John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College,