West Green House
West Green House is an 18th-century country house at West Green in Hartley Wintney in the English county of Hampshire. The house is listed Grade II*. It is well known for its gardens and for its summer season of opera.
The house was built by the 17th century General Henry Hawley, who led the cavalry charge at the Battle of Culloden. At the beginning of the 20th century the Playfair family employed the architect Robert Weir Schulz to remodel the north front of the house and to design new gardens. After the Playfairs left West Green House five years later, the new owner, Evelyn, Duchess of Wellington continued to improve the gardens. The Duchess and her friend Yvonne Fitzroy occupied the house and garden for many years. Victor Sassoon bought the house and allowed the Duchess and her friend to live in house until the Duchess's death in 1939 and Fitzroy’s death in 1971.
The National Trust has owned the house since 1971, after being left the property by Victor Sassoon in 1957. Alistair McAlpine acquired the lease in 1976 and restored the gardens and added monuments designed by the classical architect Quinlan Terry.
In the 1970s McAlpine and Terry constructed various follies in the grounds of the house. One of these, a 50 feet high column topped by an elaborately carved design bears a latin inscription declaring that "this monument was built with a great deal of money which otherwise someday would have been given into the hands of the public revenue". McAlpine also constructed a classical triumphal arch topped with an obelisk that bears a plaque dedicating the arch to the "first lady Prime Minister of Great Britain". Other features placed by McAlpine and Terry in the folly garden include a trompe l'oeil Nymphaeum, a smoke house, an "eye catcher", Chinese cow sheds and an island gazebo.
Abbott is the former marketing and tourism manager of Sydney Opera House, and instituted an opera season at West Green House which is held annually in July and August. Operas are staged on the Theatre Lawn, with seating, a stage and an orchestra pit which take advantage of the contours of the garden.
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