This paper looks at the literary coterie that met regularly at Wrest Park in the mid-18th century, centred on the young owners of the estate, Philip Yorke and Jemima, Marchioness Grey. It focuses on the coterie’s ideas about classical antiquity and primitivism and how these influenced garden design at Wrest, particularly within the Mithraic Glade with its pagan altar and root house. The paper argues that there was an ongoing dialogue between the buildings of the Mithraic Glade and the Athenian Letters, a literary work, published privately by members of the coterie in two volumes in 1741 and 1743. The correspondence between members of the coterie shows that the creation of the Glade was intended to consolidate friendships within the group as a physical embodiment of the ideas that brought them all together.
Sandwiches will be provided.