Created by Cornish conceptual artist Tom Leaper and commissioned specially for Trewithen, the fountain’s design was inspired by the range and flower size of Trewithen’s famous magnolias. It was completed in December 1996 and is widely considered an extraordinary work of art.
With a strong horizontal design derived from the shape of the magnolia flower, the fountain relies on the petals’ natural verticals to control the water which flows from one bronze petal to the next. It has been sculpted primarily from phosphor bronze and Cornish granite.
As one of the most charming parts of the garden, the Cockpit boasts an enormous specimen of climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea petoilaris, hanging in a fine oak tree by the Ha Ha trench. The area’s fern collection includes exotic tree specimens from South West Australia and Tasmania – some of the first plants of their kind to have been brought to Cornwall. Originally used as ballast in clipper ships, they were often thrown into the harbour until it was discovered that they could enhance the sub tropical feel of the county’s gardens. There is also a pink flowered seedling of Magnolia sprengeri and Acer maximowiczianum* from Japan.
A camera obscura is a device that projects an image from outside, in this case the surrounding garden, onto a table inside a darkened room. Once inside the obscura you can adjust the view by slowly raising or lowering the table whilst revolving the mirror and prisms above with a handle. Why not give it a go on your next visit to the Gardens?