This engraving was Plate 43 in the 1707 edition of ‘Britannia Illustrata’.
The splendid new garden laid out by George London for Lord Ferrers must have been the incentive to summon Knyff to record it. The hall essentially dated from the 16th- and 17th-centuries and the church was built in 1653. The classical five-bay garden façade of the house dates from the late 1690s, contemporary with the garden. The garden, which is notable for its proliferation of waterworks, includes a gigantic fountain in the form of a column. This fountain is set in the lower parterre of three terraces, fronted by a considerable greenhouse of architectural distinction. A later Lord Ferrers, an amateur architect, rebuilt the house from 1763 and at the same time landscaped the gardens and converted the formal canal into a more natural-shaped lake. Today, the church is maintained by the National Trust. The hall itself became a family home again in 2003, after 50 years of institutional use.
An oil painting of Staunton Harold Hall attributed to Leonard Knyff in a private collection shows the garden furnished with less fountains, topiary and waterworks than in the engraving and may have been painted before these were installed.
Leendert Knijff, better known as Leonard Knyff, was born in Haarlem in 1650 and followed his brother Jacob (also an artist) to London at some point after 1676. In 1694, Knyff was made a British citizen. He began his career painting still lifes but became better-known in Britain for his views of gardens and country houses. The birds-eye view format, which was popularised in the UK by Knyff, is thought to have first been introduced to the British landscape tradition by his brother, Jacob.
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