Alexander Pope's Grotto is the only surviving element of the poet's villa and gardens on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham. Pope was the foremost poet of the early 18th century. Pope began building his villa in 1719. Between 1720 and 1742 he worked on a 'subterraneous way' in the villa’s cellars, joining his house to his garden beneath a public road. The grotto was conceived as a classical nymphaeum, a decorated imitation of a natural cavern. As Pope’s gardens and villa developed, the grotto became a museum of geology and a place of contemplation, encrusted with rocks and minerals and enlivened by a rill of water, mirrors, reflective surfaces and views of the river. It was described as 'A seminal event in the eighteenth-century search to establish man's relationship with nature'.
“We went to a real cave underground. But have you even seen a real fossil? Because I have!”.
Marwan, 11, Future Men youth group.
Partner schools are invited to submit their creative responses to our projects, with shortlisted pieces featured on our website and prizes to be won!
The children made this TikTok with us following their discoveries in the Grotto!