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Take a quick read of the featured Jewel of Historical Romance author’s favorite point of inspiration for her stories, then answer two simple questions and you’re entered!
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ENTRY FORM BELOW! READ POST FIRST!
Lucinda “Sapphire” Brant
What inspires me? Georgian Follies!
I love these quirky garden buildings built by the wealthy of the 18th Century on their estates. Almost all my Roxton Family Saga novels feature a folly of some description, and they often provide an intimate setting for the hero and heroine to explore their developing relationship. A folly was an ideal place for a couple to escape the prying eyes of family, guests and servants, so they could spend time alone.
In architectural terms, a folly is a small building constructed primarily as a decorative feature within a landscape setting. And for the wealthy Georgian, a folly (or five or more!) was the must have item for their newly landscaped gardens.
In the 18th Century, Georgian gents spent bucket loads landscaping their estates so that their big houses appeared within a “natural” and pleasing-to-the-eye environment. This often meant moving and reshaping thousands of tons of earth, flooding farming land to make lakes, constructing ha-has so that sheep and cows didn’t spoil their views, and employing hundreds of men and fashionable landscape architects such as Capability Brown to make it all happen. And to gain maximum enjoyment out of their new parklands, garden follies were then placed around these artificially constructed natural landscapes to provide a place to sit and admire their new view.
As these little buildings themselves were on display they needed to be visually appealing as well as proclaim the wealth and status of their owner. So follies were often built to resemble abbey ruins, miniature Roman and Chinese temples, rustic mills and cottages, Tatar tents, and most eccentric of all, a giant pineapple!
The Dunmore Pineapple is described as the most bizarre folly in the world. It was built in 1761 (the date is carved into the stone lintel) by the fourth Earl of Dunmore at his estate near Falkirk in Scotland. Being the typical wealthy Georgian gent, Lord Dunmore built the folly as a place where he and his wife could appreciate the views of his estate. But this folly served a dual purpose. Not only as a place to take tea in the rotunda while admiring the view, but as a proclamation of the Earl’s achievement in growing the exotic pineapple in, of all places, Scotland! This folly had attached to it hothouses for the growing of pineapples and other exotic fruits. The glass and the furnaces are long gone but the long brick walls are still intact, as is the pineapple.
I had the most wonderful time visiting this out of the way folly in May last year, and was given a tour of the grounds, the attached buildings and the little rotunda under the enormous pineapple where Lord and Lady Dunmore took tea.
This fabulous folly provided inspiration for Dair and Rory’s story in DAIR DEVIL. Rory cultivates the highly exotic pineapple, and as a wedding gift, Dair promises to build Rory her very own pineapple-topped folly in the grounds of his estate.
Follies play an important role in my Roxton Family Saga books. There is the domed folly in the Chinese gardens in NOBLE SATYR. Antonia’s pretty pavilion down by the lake, and the temple folly and bathing pool on Swan Island, home to Geoffrey the Hermit, featured in AUTUMN DUCHESS and DAIR DEVIL. Mary and Christopher in PROUD MARY spend time in the Roman ruins and a cottage folly in the forest of the Cotswolds. And in the latest installment (due out later this year) SATYR’S SON, an Italianate folly plays a vital role in the developing relationship between Lord Henri-Antoine and Lisa Crisp.
Look out for them as you read (better still re-read) the series and you’ll see just how the little garden building—the folly—truly is an inspiration.
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