Garden designs by Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Special Collections

Brunel topiary designs

These are designs by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for yew tree topiary shapes in his proposed garden at Watcombe, dating from 1849 to 1858. Brunel was in the process of designing both a house and garden to build at Watcombe, overlooking Babbacombe Bay, near Torquay, in Devon. It is particularly interesting to see how Brunel applies his engineering skills to gardening - elsewhere within the sketchbook Brunel notes the dimensions indicating how trees have grown over the years.

Special Collections holds an extensive collection of sketchbooks, notebooks, drawings, correspondence and artefacts relating to Brunel.

  • Item reference: DM1954/1/1
  • Photographer: Jamie Carstairs
  • Copyright: University of Bristol
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