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English Garden Inspired Nineteenth Century Delaware Landscape

After several years in England nineteenth century Quaker banker Joseph Shipley (1795-1867) returned to his home town of Wilmington, Delware in 1851.

He loved the house that he had in England called Wyngote with its English garden. This painting from 1840 [below] illustrates the English landscape surrounding the house.

In Delaware Shipley built his new house which he called Rockwood in a style similar to Wyncote, employing even the same architect and landscape gardener. Shipley repeated at Rockwood the conservatory on the right side of the house.

'Wyncote', watercolor by John McGahey, 1840
‘Wyncote’, watercolor by John McGahey, 1840

But it is its gardenesque landscape, popular in England at the time, that captures the essence of Rockwood. The extensive lawn and collections of plants throughout the property were signature elements of the gardenesque style.

Today Rockwood is open as a public garden for visitors. Shipley first loved the English garden style at Wyncote. Rockwood still stands today as a testament to that sentiment.

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