I probably was about twelve years old when I read my first Agatha Christie mystery  - Dead Man's Folly. This tale introduced me to the architectural term "folly" - an extravagant structure built primarily to enhance the landscape. Follies - from the French folie, or foolishness, traditionally had no purpose other than providing a focal point, and they were especially popular in England  during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Romantics were drawn to the "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur" (Johann Winckelmann's History of Ancient Art [1763]) of Greek art and architecture, so many follies looked like ancient temples with columns. Roman, Chinese and Gothic styles appeared in later examples.    

The Rotunda, Stowe Landscape Gardens.
Buckinghamshire, England.
Acquired by the National Trust in the late 1980s.
Photo credit: Philip Halling (June 7, 2008). Photo obtained via Wikipedia.

Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie was first published in 1956 and, according to the BBC, "the house at the centre of the mystery was inspired by Greenway," Christie's holiday home in Devon. The BBC announced on June 3, 2013 that David Suchet, who has starred as Agatha Christie's fictional Detective Hercule Poirot since 1989, will appear in a version of Dead Man's Folly that will feature scenes filmed at Greenway. The home is now owned by the National Trust

"The Boathouse at Greenway [which plays a role in Dead Man's Folly] is a fantastic place to spot kingfishers."
Photo credit: Nick Guttridge. Photo obtained from National Trust website.

Jean Stapleton, who died last Friday (May 31, 2013), starred with Peter Ustinov in a 1986 film version of Dead Man's Folly. In memory of Ms. Stapleton and in honor of Agatha Christie's mysteries, I share some photos of follies . . . 

"A replica of a Palladian portico sits at the far end of the pool, which is rimmed with weathered stone and painted algae-green."
Los Angeles home of Richard Shapiro, an antiques dealer and designer of the Studiolo line of furniture and accessories.
Text by Anne Bogart.
"The Secret Garden" photographed and produced by Miguel Flores-Vianna.
Elle Decor (May 2009).

"An axial view through the orchard terminates at a limestone temple rotunda with a lead-coated copper dome."
Old Mill Farm - an estate in Greenwich.
Photography by Chris Meech.
"Old Mill Farm" by Tom Woodham.

"For the pool house, [Follin] Smith wanted 'something that could double as a lifeguard stand and a cocktail spot - or a dance pavilion for a hoard.' Channeling Thomas Jefferson, [John] Mayfield designed a grand structure, part Monticello and part Jefferson's barn at Bremo, with a proud pediment addressing the lawn."
Pennsylvania farm owned by Follin Smith and her family.
Interior design by Richard Keith Langham.
Architect: John Mayfield.
Photography by Francesco Lagnese.
"Rustic Design Ideas: Richard Keith Langham's Country House" by Kate Bolick.

" 'It's my own piece of Los Angeles,' designer Thomas Pheasant says of the rear garden and pool area of his classically inspired contemporary residence in D.C. Although Pheasant created the poolhouse with a Palladian facade, he used stucco for the walls and Spanish-style tiles for the roof. 'It's very un-Washington.' "
Photography by Durston Saylor.
"Luxurious Private Pools" text by Kate Jerde.
Architectural Digest (September 2009). 

"Cil Draime and her late husband, Max, created a garden in Ohio that rambles over 10 acres and encompasses seven ponds and a small lake, as well as 12 areas dedicated to specific themes. They incorporated existing 100-year-old trees into their design. The lakeside gazebo is 'a lovely place to lunch,' [Cil Draime says]."
Photography by Richard Felber.
"Gardens: Variations on a Green" text by John Loring.
Architectural Digest (June 2007).

""Cil Draime and her late husband, Max, created a garden in Ohio that rambles over 10 acres and encompasses seven ponds and a small lake, as well as 12 areas dedicated to specific themes. They incorporated existing 100-year-old trees into their design. The Italian folly is a favorite spot for entertaining. The Draimes visited gardens throughout Europe as they began to plan their grounds. 'Sissinghurst was inspiring,' [Cil Draime] says. 'I thought, I can do this.' "
Photography by Richard Felber.
"Gardens: Variations on a Green" text by John Loring.
Architectural Digest (June 2007).

"The pool house, which the family calls the 'summerhouse,' was modeled after an English conservatory. Chandelier by Jan Barboglio. Janus et Cie table and chairs."
1930s house in Houston, Texas.
Design by Ginger Barber.
Photography by Nathan Schroder.
House Beautiful (November 2008).

"Wisteria, laurel and ferns soften the rustic cedar of the folly."
Designer Jamie Drake's East Hampton home.
Landscape design by Craig James Socia.
Photography by Richard Felber.
"A Designer's Dream Garden" by Susan Heeger.
Metropolitan Home (July/August 2009).

"The garden's focal point - a romantic folly. The idea started after Marina [Kriegsman] purchased the bench that now sits inside."
Marina Kriegsman's Pacific Palisades, California, home.
Interior and garden design by Janet Lohman, Janet Lohman Design.
Photography by Mark Lohman.
"Latticework and Roses: California Garden" written by Rebecca Christian.

The Temple's 18th-c. facade.
"The Temple, a former fishing lodge and garden folly, is nestled in the Dedham Vale in pastoral Suffolk, only sixty miles northeast of London, but the tall, white gates that demarcate the entrance to the Temple and its bloom-filled plots are portals to another world: an Arcadian vision of a perfectly proportioned house set against fields and water, a paradise of order and symmetry, beauty and calm."
Home of Veere Grenney and David Oliver.
Interior and landscape design by Veere Grenney, Veere Grenney Associates.
Photography by Simon Upton.
"Rustically Refined" written by Roslyn Sulcas.
Veranda (March - April 2012).

"The pavilion is the perfect gathering place for cocktails or dinner. Pavilion by Robert Hart. Pool by Hart and Alec Michaelides. Coffee table, Restoration Hardware."
'We spent months studying Renaissance architects in the Veneto,' says Mr. Hart. 'Palladio was a master of symmetry and proportion, attributes that were important to me in the design of our house.' "
"Serendipity," the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home of Sallie Ann and Robert Hart.
Interior design by James Michael Howard.
Architectural design by Robert Hart.
Landscape architecture by Alec Michaelides.
Written by Stephen Treffinger.
"Isn't It Romantic" produced by Leslie Newson Rascoe.
Veranda (April 2011).

"With this project, designer Richard Hallberg set out to bring the spirit of Andalusia to a brand new house. He achieved this by paying homage to that great icon of Andalusian design, the Alhambra, and its dazzling water features. Gently arcing symmetrical jets of water lead the eye straight to the striking, arched pavilion. Punched out geometric patterns in the pavilion's walls and two rows of oversized glass [antique Moroccan] lanterns complete the Moorish look."
Interior design by Richard Hallberg.
Architecture by William Hablinksi.
Written by Linda Sherbert.
"Oasis of Artistry" photographed and produced by Miguel Flores-Vianna.
Veranda (September 2011).

"A playful take on a classical Greek temple, this pool house designed by Bunny Williams combines a centuries-old aesthetic with modern amenities. 'Temples were originally built of wood before they were fabricated in stone,' says Williams. The version she created includes a grill, bathroom, and fireplace."
Photo credit: Veranda.
"Veranda's Most Memorable Pools" by Kayla Desroches.

"An outdoor pavilion anchors the swimming pool at this home in Houston. Its perfect symmetry and clean geometric shapes - globe-shaped topiaries, double-arched windows, and pair of black lanterns flanking the doorframe - make the elegant space feel calm and balanced."
Design: Pamela Pierce, Pierce Designs and Associates.
Photo credit: Veranda.
"European Influence" 
Veranda (July/August 2009).

"Surrounded by towering trees and a tidy wall of hedges, this pool feels like a hidden paradise tucked away from life's distractions. The interior of the glass-paneled, ivy-laced poolhouse is airy yet cozy, with its cushioned Dunbar-style sofa, wingchair, plump throw pillows, and coffee table stacked with books. It's part garden, part reader's retreat - and a total getaway."
1926 Norman-style manor in Holmby Hills, California.
Interior design by Danielle Eber and Thomas Beeton.
Architecture by Toni Lewis and Marc Schoeplein, Lewis/Schoeplein Architects.
Landscape design by Stephen Block.
Photography by Roger Davies.
Written by Jeff Book.
"Lap of Luxury" produced by Gena Sigala.

"A Greek-temple garden folly at Highgrove House, the country residence of Prince Charles, inspired the wood pergola. The royal version was designed by the much-revered Isabel and Julian Bannerman, known for dreamy English gardens filled with classical allusions. [Brian] McCarthy planned all the trees and shrubs on the property, which was once entirely alfalfa fields."
Kerhonkson, New York, country house of designer Brian McCarthy and Daniel Sager.
Interior design by Brian McCarthy, Brian J. McCarthy, Inc.
Photography by Francesco Lagnese.
"Inside Brian McCarthy's Greek Revival Farmhouse in New York" by Barbara King.
House Beautiful (April 2013). 


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