Oakwood, Bath

Posted on April 1st, 2009 by Jonathan Lovie

As mentioned previously, we are aware that the landscapes associated with late eighteenth and early nineteenth century villas are both underrepresented on the Register, and vulnerable to development pressure. This was illustrated in stark terms by proposals for the erection of a new dwelling and pedestrian entrance at Oakwood, a Regency villa landscape which was recently added to the Register at Grade II. The new Pevsner for Bath (2003) comments that Oakwood (originally known as Smallcombe Villa), “is an unusual survival in Bath of a large Regency garden with water features, laid out by the landscape painter Benjamin Barker”. Barker began work on the site with his brother-in-law, the flower painter James Hewlett in 1814, and in 1817 the garden was considered of sufficient interest to be visited by Queen Charlotte.

In objecting strongly to these proposals, John Clark commented that the proposed development would be completely unacceptable in design terms because it failed to respect the original design intention of this early nineteenth century Italianate villa garden which survives largely as it was originally laid out.

Leave a comment