The Chinoiserie Style
The Chinese Dairy was designed by Henry Holland in the Chinoiserie style in 1787 for Francis, 5th Duke of Bedford. Sir William Chambers’ pattern book ‘designs’ was published in 1785 and developed the Chinese style, known as Chinoiserie. It was from this source that Holland derived much of the detail for the dairy. The Duke wished to create an appropriate setting for his collection of oriental porcelain, dishes and plates.
The Dairy was originally joined to the house by a covered walkway, part of which you can still see today. The Chinese trees continue the theme from the Dairy into the Garden and the windows were painted with Chinese characters and botanical specimens by Theodore Perrache. The fish in the pond are mainly species of carp and records show it was a regular occurrence for the 6th Duke to feed the fish each morning at 6.00am.
Chinese Dairy Restoration
The Chinese Dairy was built in 1794 and restored in 2004. The pond is 12ft deep at the centre and was drained to a depth of 6ft during the reconstruction phase so that the koi fish did not have to be removed. All planting around the pond is new except for 3 original trees.
The planting includes a Eucommia (Eucommia ulmoides), a small tree native to China. It is "near threatened" in the wild, but is widely cultivated in China for its bark as it is highly valued in herbology, especially traditional Chinese medicine. If a leaf is torn across, strands of latex exuded from the leaf veins solidify into rubber.