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date: 20 September 2019


  • Tim Mowl


Garden house built on a terrace, with views to a road outside or the distant countryside. Until the 1830s, when ‘belvedere’ became the more acceptable term, small turrets on a roof-top were also described as gazebos, as were Maltese mirador windows. The term, with its implied meaning ‘I will look out’, was coined whimsically in the early 18th century using the Latin future tense ending, but the type of structure it describes developed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from the less ambitious forms of the medieval garden mount.

The compact houses of the English Renaissance afforded neither the privacy nor the viewpoints that had been common in the towered domestic castles of the late Middle Ages. Gazebos developed to supply these two advantages, and both Longleat House, Wilts (c. 1572), and Hardwick Hall, Derbys (1591–7), have prospect rooms on their roofs. As garden design in this period grew more ambitious, it became usual for these to be built, often in pairs, on a terrace. From there, the parterres could be viewed and, away from prying servants, alfresco meals enjoyed. ...

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