architecture, Bulgaria, Folly, Monument, Tortoise House

Miniature and monumental

The Folly Flâneuse is busy pottering around the country in search of temples and towers to fill these pages. Meanwhile, here is a brief look at two very different landscape features: one on a miniature scale and one monumental, one in a tranquil English garden, and one on a Bulgarian hilltop.

Alan and Claire Terrill found the restored Shell House at Staunton Country Park (above, featured here in January 2022) so delightful that Alan decided to build a miniature version for their tortoises. Finding one element of the design a little tricky, he contacted John Malaiperuman, the Conservation Architect responsible for the restoration, who was happy to give advice.

Image courtesy of Alan Terrill.

Unlike the original, which had a shell-decorated interior, Alan covered the exterior of the tortoise house with shells, including shell pinnacles as the perfect finishing touch. The tortoise house joins the other jolly follies and features in Alan and Claire’s Shropshire garden. And as you can see, the testudinal tenants are settling in nicely. To see the whole story visit the updated original post

Writer and historian Rosemary Hill got in touch with news of a fascinating restoration project in Bulgaria. The Buzludzha Memorial House is a dramatic hilltop monument with a long and complicated history interrupted by unrest and political change.

Building a landmark on this spot was first discussed in the last years of the 19th century, but the rapidly changing political and economic climate meant that the curious structure shown here was not erected until the last quarter of the 20th century. Sadly, the building flourished for only a short period before it was abandoned and much of the usable materials looted. A major project to restore the monument is now underway.

Image courtesy of Buzludzha Project Foundation.

As Rosemary wrote, it is impressive ‘that they have found the time and imagination to think constructively about the past when history is moving so fast and dangerously around them in the present.’

One of the magnificent mosaics that decorate the building. Image courtesy of Buzludzha Project Foundation ©Darmon Richter.

The Folly Flâneuse can’t do justice to this fascinating structure in just a couple of paragraphs, so do read more on the project’s excellent website:

Thank you for reading. The Folly Flâneuse will be back with another folly feature next week. Please scroll down to the comments box to share any thoughts. 



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6 thoughts on “Miniature and monumental”

  1. Gwyn Headley says:

    A long term Crouch End resident of my acquaintance, Ptimothy Ptolomy Ptortoise, is brown with envy at the Terrill Tortoise Palace!

    1. Editor says:

      Hello Gwyn. Perhaps you could build a miniature Broadway Tower for Ptimothy?

  2. Gand says:

    I wonder what Ephebe, Loosetrife and Diogenes make of all this publicity about their house.
    Miniature piece by your standards but a monumental read all the same.

    1. Editor says:

      Good afternoon Gand. The Terrill tortoises, and their wonderful new home, deserve their 15 minutes of fame.

  3. Rosemary Hill says:

    Thank you so much for giving Bulgaria it’s moment in the sunshine of the blog. My Bulgarian neighbours are returning to London soon and may have news…

    1. Editor says:

      You are very welcome, Rosemary. A fascinating project which deserves support.

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