Audio Tour 9
9a) A Prize for the Architect Earl
9b) Inigo Jones Gateway
(Scroll down for second part of tour)
9a A Prize for the Architect Earl
This poem, ‘HERACLES’, is by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
To look at him now, who would think
he’d flayed a pelt of iron, bronze, stone
from a lion,
hacked its head for a helmet...
held the Hydra’s hissing heads
by eight throats;
scarfed the Golden Hind about his own;
chained, tamed, shouldered a wild boar?
Or believe he, old man,
had harnessed rivers;
emptied the air of murderous birds,
their brazen feathers;
felt the mad, hot bull swoon in his arms;
set four crazed mares
to pulling his chariot;
wooed an Amazon simply to break her heart?
Who’d credit his arrow killed
the dragon and giant,
or bet he stole the golden apples from a god,
called to heel Hell’s dog
for the last of his labours?
But he is the Gatekeeper;
this the home of the Gods,
who plucked him, favoured,
from the wood and fire of his funeral pyre
to place him here...
and he will never let you pass.
9b Inigo Jones Gateway
The gateway was designed by the celebrated architect Inigo Jones for Beaufort House in Chelsea in 1621. Lord Burlington admired Jones’s design and acquired the gateway in 1738 when his friend Hans Sloane was demolishing the house.
A poem by William Kent describes how the gateway came to Chiswick:
Ho! Gate, how came ye here?
I came fro’ Chelsea the last yere
Inigo Jones there put me together
Then was I dropping by wind and weather
Sir Hannes Sloane
Let me alone
But Burlington brought me hither
Gate Inigo Jon-ical
Was late Hans Slon-ical
And now Burlington-ical
Around 200 years after the gate had been installed, Chiswick became a public park. The mental asylum that the Tukes ran here closed in 1929 and the grounds and house were bought by Chiswick and Brentford Council. That same year, His Royal Highness Prince George officially opened the site to the public to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for relaxation and leisure.