A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden! The exhibition showcases whimsical and classic garden structures located throughout the Winterthur estate.
Follies are architectural constructions, often extravagant or picturesque, positioned within the landscape to amuse, frame a view, or pique your curiosity. You may have seen follies at other estates or in television shows or movies, such as Downton Abbey or Brideshead Revisited. Henry Francis du Pont, who developed Winterthur’s expansive gardens from 1902 to 1969, was familiar with follies throughout America and Europe and incorporated several into his own garden plans.
Some of the follies you will see in the exhibition were created or procured by H.F. du Pont as he developed the garden. Others are newly built structures inspired by follies at other estates. Together they offer a fresh and delightful way for visitors to experience Winterthur’s sweeping vistas, quiet corners, and winding paths.
The exhibit can be enjoyed on foot or from the garden tram. The walking loop takes approximately 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. The main path through the garden is wheelchair and stroller accessible.