Temple of Arethusa
The Grade II-listed Temple of Arethusa was built in 1758 and is located near Victoria Gate.
Temple of Arethusa
Did you know?
- Arethusa was a nymph, an attendant on Diana the Huntress. When a river god tried to seduce Arethusa as she bathed, she called to Diana for help and was transformed into a fountain.
- A mature sessile oak (Quercus petraea) stands close to the Temple of Arethusa. The tree was grown from an acorn collected on the battlefields of Verdun, France in 1917. It was planted at Kew in 1919.
History and architecture
One of six surviving buildings of the 20 or so Sir William Chambers designed for Princess Augusta, the Temple of Arethusa stands just past the Campanile, on the right if walking from the Victoria Gate towards the Palm House Pond. While essentially a folly, this product of the Greek Revival was also a study in, and an appreciation of, Classical architecture.
Unlike the Doric-pillared Temples of Bellona and Aeolus, the Temple of Arethusa boasts curling Ionic volutes on its pillars and pilasters. Ionic columns normally stand on a base that separates the shaft of the column from the ‘stylobate’, or temple floor. They are also more slender and decorative than Doric designs.
Restoration and conservation
The temple was moved in 1803 “by His Majesty’s Command” from its original prominent position on the lake to its current location. The Temple is now used as Kew’s war memorial, with a bronze tablet designed by Sir Robert Lorimer unveiled in 1921.
Every year Kew supplies a wreath for the Remembrance Sunday parade in London, containing flowers from the UK Overseas Territories. It is laid on the Cenotaph by the Foreign Secretary. A back-up wreath is also made and, if not required, laid in the Temple of Arethusa.
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We invite photographers to capture the sights at Kew and Wakehurst. These images are a selection of images submitted by photographers from around the world. We hope you enjoy them. You can see more on Flickr.