Audio Tour 7

7a) An Audience of Oranges
7b) Goosefoot, Exedra and Rock'n'Roll

(Scroll down for second part of tour)

7a An Audience of Oranges


‘An Audience of Oranges,’ a.k.a. ‘Critic’s Circle’ by Adult competition winner Katharine Kavanagh.

Waiting in the wings
the sweet triffids,
potted critics,
surround the scene, ready
to pass judgement.

The fidgety restlessness
that comes from fur, feather and feet
is held
in awe.
An awe-dience.
Who will be victorious
in this battle of wills
and Stillness?

For there, facing down his foes,
the lone stone owns the stage.

The rows of green,
neatly trimmed and pruned,
uniform and proper,
rustle gently in the breeze,
but maintain their composure.
     'His poise is good,'   

Hushed, like the slow stroke
of sleepy summer butterflies,
the tension of this Act
leaks softly through the air
with the scent of oranges.

     'It can't last,'
     'He has to crack,'
     'All alone out there,'
     'And we are many,'
     'We are populous.'

The rings would close in
if they could.

     'We will stand here,'
     'We will watch,'
     'We will wait,'
     'We are many,'
     'He is one.'

'Our fruit has been a theatrical fixture since the days of Seneca and his orangeries in Rome,'
'Since the celebrated Shakespeare plied the globe with his trade,'
'Succulent and sweet, we are never hard, never bitter'
               'Never bitter,'
               'Never ever bitter,'

But the stone is unmoved, uncaring for common wares.
There are no snarling, mauling beasts here, only time, and his own reflection.
He can bear their frosty reception,
and the chill of winter
that sees his small, shrubby censurers trooped
(and trapped)
inside for the season.
He can endure it still.


7b Goosefoot, Exedra, and Rock’n’Roll



At the end of this path is one of the key features of Chiswick’s garden, a series of radiating avenues forms known as a patte d’oie, or ‘goosefoot.’ It probably dates from 1716 and has been restored to its original appearance. Each avenue ends in an ‘eye-catcher’ – an ornamental building intended to draw the eye to the end of each vista. Today, you can see a rustic house and a Doric column, although only the rustic house is original from Burlington’s time.

The large lawn behind Chiswick House is closed at one end by a dramatic semi-circular hedge known as the exedra. Here, you can see a recreation of Burlington’s collection of 18th-century sculpture, including copies of antique figures said to be the ancient Roman figures of Caesar, Pompey and Cicero. They were brought back from Rome by Lord Burlington and the originals are now inside the House. The statues of the lion and lioness, completed about 1733, were probably sculpted by Flemish sculptor Pieter Scheemakers.

This area of the garden also features Cedar of Lebanon trees, planted nearly three hundred years ago. Lord Burlington was amongst the first aristocrats to introduce this type of tree to an English garden. The trees alternate with stone urns, which have played their small part in the history of pop music: in 1966, they were the backdrop to promotional videos for The Beatles’ singles, ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain.’ You can see pictures of their video shoot on display panels in the conservatory.

Throughout their history, the gardens at Chiswick have been a magnet for the rich and famous. In 1811, the 6th Duke of Devonshire inherited the house. Known as ‘The Bachelor Duke,’ he laid on lavish entertainments, attended by many distinguished visitors, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who visited in 1842. Part of the guests’ amusement probably came from the Duke’s large collection of exotic animals he kept here.

Document downloads

Chiswick Gardens Audio Tour Map
A map showing the location of all the easels for the Chiswick Gardens Audio Tour
pdf icon pdf (554.09kb)

Chiswick Gardens Audio Tour Transcript
Full transcript for the Chiswick Gardens Audio Tour
pdf icon pdf (140.16kb)

Keep in touch

Sign Up

Follow us