Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kenilworth's Elizabethan Gardens

I started this post two days ago, but here I am finally with the rest of the pictures from Kenilworth.  This castle has a large Elizabethan garden which was recently reconstructed to look as it did when Queen Elizabeth last visited the castle in 1575, thanks in large part to a very long and detailed letter by Robert Langham describing the garden and castle environs.

This is the upper part of a fountain in the center of the garden; the guide book calls these guys "Athlants" but it's in reference to the myth of Atlas holding up the sky.

And from the other side.  See what a difference it makes which direction you shoot in?

Each side of the octagonal base of the fountain has a scene from Ovid's Metamorphosis on it, all of them related to Neptune (Greek Poseidon) and/or the sea.  So here's Neptune himself with his trident and horses, which he created.

And here's Europa being taken out to sea on the back of a bull who is really Jupiter/Zeus while her sisters look on in panic.

Andromeda chained to a rock to be sacrificed to a sea monster; Perseus is atop Pegasus in the upper right corner, come to petrify the monster with Medusa's head.  Earlier today I read a part in Robert Graves' The Greek Myths about Perseus and he didn't ride Pegasus, he had winged sandals lent to him by Hermes.  Pegasus didn't arrive on the scene until Medusa was beheaded and he sprang forth from her corpse; Bellerophon rode Pegasus when he killed the chimaera which is a similar myth.  That book is really interesting to me, but Graves writes a commentary about each myth relating it to things like conquests of here or there and ancient sacrifices and stuff, which is kind of like having a magician tell you all his secrets.

According to the guide book, this has to be Poseidon/Neptune and Caenis, which I wouldn't have been able to tell on my own because there are so many ravishments in Greek myth.  Zeus and the other gods really got around, the goddesses not quite so much.  If I'm not mistaken, Caenis was so upset after Poseidon had his way with her that she asked the gods to turn her into a man, which they did.  And then later he was turned back into a woman and squished by centaurs.

Here's a view of the gardens, or at least half the gardens, and once again we had to kind of hurry up to see everything before the rain arrived.

This I think is part of the Great Hall, which is the oldest part of the castle.

And there's the ruins from the inside : )

Up on the second level, looking down to the gardens.

And here's the whole shebang.  I think I'm running out of commentary here.

And here's the last photo from Kenilworth, this is Leicester's gatehouse.  The castle is in ruins because during the English civil war, it was "slighted" to make it uninhabitable, but the gatehouse was left alone and was later converted into a residence.  You can't see it from this direction, but there used to be a pathway running through the bottom of the gatehouse big enough to drive a horse-drawn carriage through; it was bricked up and refurbished into a living space.  So there you have it for Kenilworth, and sometime soon I'll be back with photos from our next stop.  Or maybe some paper crafting goodies or book recommendations, I don't know what yet.


CCsMom said...

Ravishments? Hmmm, interesting word. LOVED the gardens. That picture was so colorful, I thought it might not be REAL -- or one of those "enhanced" post cards. Just lovely. Can't wait to see some of this stuff with my own eyes. Just LOVE IT!!! Can't wait to see you . . . more than anything. Love you!

Thoughts by B and M said...

Book Recommendations sound fun!

CCsMom said...

You know, I think the clouds really enhance these photos. Beautiful blue sky, too.

Giffysk8s said...

I can't choose a favorite photo from this post. They are all so cool! Hmm...maybe the one with the arches since it shows so much depth it almost looks 3D.

I love your Greek mythology lessons. It has been a very, very long time since I studied it, and I ashamedly admit that I don't remember much about it. So thank you, Professor Stanford. :)