architecture, Folly, Grotto, landscape, Monument

Merry Christmas

Image courtesy of Jennings Fine Art.

In 1950 Barbara Jones sent this feline-themed Christmas card to her fortunate friends. Christmas Day was an auspicious date for the artist and writer, for it was also her birthday: Barbara Mildred Jones was born on 25 December 1912.

Jones (1912-1978) was fascinated by popular culture, and wrote widely on the subject, but she is particularly remembered here as the author of Follies and Grottoes, the first extensive study of the subject. Her book, first published in 1953 and greatly augmented in the 1974 second edition, combined her own drawings with a delightful and divertive text. The revised edition was published in November 1974, and many lucky people must have received a copy as a Christmas gift (if you don’t have a copy it should be on your Christmas list).

The two editions. The updated and enlarged 2nd edition exhibiting signs of regular use.

This is the last post of 2022 so as a festive treat here are wonderful watercolours of two follies which have featured in these pages. The first is with Harry Moore-Gwyn Fine Art, and is by Jones herself. It is a 1940 view of the interior of the exquisite grotto at Oatlands in Surrey, which would be demolished only a few years after she visited.

Barbara Jones (1912-1978) The Shell Grotto at Oatlands near Weybridge
Signed and dated l.r.: Barbara Jones, 1940. Watercolour with gouache, 37 by 27.5 cm. Courtesy of Harry Moore-Gwyn

And Guy Peppiatt Fine Art has this charming 19th century view of Farley Mount, the pyramidal hilltop horse monument in Hampshire. There’s a prize to anyone who can tell the Folly Flâneuse what the curious pole/sign in the foreground is.

G.F. Prosser (1805-1882) Horse Monument Farley Mount, undated. Watercolour over pencil heightened with scratching out, 16.5 by 25.1 cm. Courtesy of Guy Peppiatt Fine Art.

If you move very quickly you could see both works on display at 6 Masons Yard, St James’s, London until 21st December.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to these posts in 2022, and thank you for reading. Sending everyone best wishes for the festive season and a happy and healthy 2023.

P.S. Reviewing Follies and Grottoes in 1974 the Birmingham Daily Post suggested that this new edition was ‘surely the last word on the subject’. The Folly Flâneuse begs to differ and will be back in January.


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14 thoughts on “Merry Christmas”

  1. Diane Lanwarne says:

    A very Merry Christmas to you!.
    I have so enjoyed your weekly publications and have been moved to visit some too.
    One especially in Leyburn, North Yorkshire that my partner (Who lives there) was totally unaware of.
    I look forward to more postings in the New Year.
    Many thanks.

    1. Editor says:

      Thank you Diane. The sham castle in Leyburn is so tucked away, that many people have no idea it is there. I’m glad you’ve found it. And I hope to inspire future folly jaunts in 2023.

  2. Moira Garland says:

    Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year to you. And thanks for all these very interesting Folly Flaneuse emails and posts 😀🎄🎅

    1. Editor says:

      Good morning Moira and thanks for your kind comments. Seasons Greetings 🌲

  3. Judy Pople says:

    Merry Christmas and thank you for all the intriguing and interesting follies you keep finding. Several visited, many more to visit. Love my “ping” on my phone on a Saturday morning as yours is always the first email I receive! Merry Christmas and a happy new year

    1. Editor says:

      Thank you Judy. Delighted that you have been able to visit some of the follies I have featured, and I hope you get to some more in 2023. Enjoy the festive season

  4. dave melling says:

    Always an interesting read, thank you. I have to keep adding to my places to visit list.
    If the pole in the picture was in a moe modern landscape I would say it was an owl nesting box.

    Have a good festive season

    1. Editor says:

      Hello Dave. The pole/sign remains a mystery! Wishing you a happy festive season and some fun looking for follies in 2023.

  5. Rosemary Hill says:

    No idea about the pole thing -but thank-you so much for the regular injections of interest, amusement, scholarship and beauty that have brightened a rather grim year -keep up the good work -please- in 2023 and Merry Christmas in the meantime

    1. Editor says:

      Good morning Rosemary and very many thanks for the much-appreciated comment. It’s looking like a Wet rather than a White Christmas, so all I want for Christmas is some fine weather for folly-spotting in the new year. I hope you too have some interesting projects lined up for 2023. Enjoy the Christmas break and all best wishes.

  6. Klaas Timmerman says:

    Have thoroughly enjoyed the information shared over the past year as well as the further details about our own “folly”, Best wishes, and keep up the great job , Tim

    1. Editor says:

      Thanks Tim. We revisited your tower in the autumn and it was great to see the wood coming back to life after the storm. Wishing you and all the family a very Merry Christmas.

  7. Christine Upton says:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, Folly Flaneuse. Thank you for your interesting and entertaining posts throughout the year. Christine U

    1. Editor says:

      Thank you Christine. Have a very Merry Christmas 🎄

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