August garden (jb)

The gardens of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington are central in the extended narrative of the place. The setting, grounds and structures, planned by the architect of the complex, the eminent Sir Edwin Lutyens, were meant to be seen and work as a whole. The significance of the particular location within Washington and what […]

Portrait of Gladys Rice Saltonstall, by John Singer Sargent (frontispiece to Boston and return, original now lost).

What happened to the landscape gardening firm of Hoyt and Rice? Why didn’t the two mentees of Beatrix (Jones) Farrand, Charles Sprague Sargent and the staff at the Arnold Arboretum ever start their planned business together? While a footnote in the story of the landscape of the British Embassy, Washington, one wonders if the partnership […]

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Within the intersecting circles of the story of the British Embassy, Henry Adams is the center point in its early history. His beloved home across from the White House brings together several elements of this Landscape of a Washington Place: the Embassy’s first landscape gardener (Elizabeth Sherman Hoyt, later Lady Lindsay); Beatrix Jones (later Farrand […]

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people. Click here to […]

View of the British embassy and surrounding private houses from the southeast (Airscapes, 1931, National Archives)

The previous entry in this website surveyed the District’s Gilded Age landscape with its Beaux-Arts architecture existing on Massachusetts Avenue before the British Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence arrived in the neighborhood. This was to address misinformation about and the perplexing view that the architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, designed the United Kingdom complex in rural land […]

Baist's Real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. Philadelphia: G.W. Baist, 1919-1921, pl. 25, v. 3 (Map Division, Library of Congress)

Baist’s Real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. Philadelphia: G.W. Baist, 1919-1921, pl. 25, v. 3 (Map Division, Library of Congress)

There persists the unfortunate belief in some publications that in the 1920s the government of the United Kingdom chose a remote site with “little civilization nearby” for their new Washington Embassy. While the British with their previous diplomatic building pioneered the countryside around Connecticut Avenue—with livestock pens and crumbling Civil War barracks for neighbors—that is […]

residence-backview

All of the three British ambassadors posted to the United States during the Thatcher years had a personal, practical interest in the gardens. Sir Nicholas Henderson (1979-82), was an avid gardener, who during his previous appointment to Paris displayed gardening exhibitions in the British Ambassador’s residence (such as one promoting garden tools). He came to […]

Master Plan_8-27-11

For reference to earlier and future posts, here is a master plan of the entire grounds of the Ambassador’s Residence: And for the points of interest in the story of the landscape of the British Embassy, including Normanstone Park and Normanstone Drive, Oak Hill Cemetery, Dumbarton Oaks, the Naval Observatory, Rock Creek Park: At the […]

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