British Library's piazza of Prince George is "towering gimcrack" Georgian Georgeobelisk

By Culture24 Reporter | 06 November 2013

A six-metre high piazza, designed as a tribute to the four King Georges and nodding to the new Prince George recreates the pop-up constructions of 18th century Britain in the garden of the British Library

A photo of a sculpted head of a king atop a towering needle of grass within a garden
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, The Georgeoelisk© Joe Sanders
Intended as a throwback to Georgian horticultural fashion, the Georgeobelisk has been created by landscape architect and historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. Based on the entrance gate once envisaged by architect and playwright Sir John Vanbrugh for Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, Longstaffe-Gowan’s grounds mark the approaching 300th anniversary of the beginning of the Georgian era, when temporary theatrical structures were a feature of special occasions and important events.

A photo of a sculpted head of a King on top of a totem made of grass under a blue sky
A George I bust is part of the temporary skyline© Joe Sanders
Dr Karen Limper-Herz, the co-curator of the Georgians Revealed exhibition which the garden opening coincides with, said the space represented the beginning of a nation’s infatuation with gardening.

“The Georgeobelisk is a wonderful introduction and link to the fascinating gardening documents in the exhibition,” she explained.

“We will show rarely seen material illustrating the beginnings of the British obsession with gardens and garden design.”

Longstaffe-Gowan, who oversaw the design of new gardens at Kensington Palaces last year, called the Georgeobelisk “a towering gimcrack confection” within “a scrap of pastoral parkland”, citing the Georgian “passion for extravagant temporary caprice” as its inspiration.

  • Georgians Revealed: Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain opens on November 8 2013. Visit the exhibition online for more, and use the hashtag #BLGeorgians on Twitter. Tweet your pictures of the garden to @BritishLibrary using the hashtag #GeorgianGarden.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of a sculpture of a king towering above an urban garden
The pop-up space accompanies artworks including Eduardo Paolozzi's Newton and Antony Gormley’s Planets© Joe Sanders
A photo of a sculpture made out of grass representing a garden with a king sculpture
A model of the structure© Courtesy British Library
A photo of a classical-style sculpture of a small royal child with golden wings under a sky
Model of the 'putto' representing Prince George© Courtesy British Library
A photo of a landscape gardener in a blue and white shirt holding two small dogs
Acclaimed landscape gardener and historian  Longstaffe-Gowan designed the Georgeobelisk with Cityscapes© Courtesy British Library
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