Last edited 11 Jul 2021


This clairvoyee looks into the Cherry Garden at Ham House.

The word clairvoyee (or claire-voie) is a gardening term associated with a 'window' created to display a landscape or vista. It is derived from two French words that can be loosely translated to mean “providing a clear pathway to light”.

They were first introduced into formal French 17th century gardens and subsequently became popular with the English aristocracy who incorporated them into country homes and estates.

They are typically formed by cutting a hole through a hedge, wall, screen, fence or gate. The hole may be covered by a grille, which can be a decorative feature that also serves security purposes.

These openings are intended to reveal to the viewer, a framed scene of another part of the garden or landscape, or of a folly or eyecatcher.

Clairvoyee is also associated with the term clerestory, which is a type of window that is usually found at or near the roof line.

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