Kew Garden’s ten-storey, 163 ft tall, Pagoda was constructed in 1762, at the time when Chinoiserie was all the rage. It was a bright, colourful building with varnished iron plates on the roofs, and 80 gold covered dragons, one at each corner.
The dragons were removed during repair work in 1784 and their fate is unclear; whether they rotted or were sold or stolen is a matter of dispute, but they certainly never returned.
The pagoda is a popular sight in Kew, visible from many points in the garden and a very striking structure. Once you get close, however, it is not so impressive, with worn areas and peeling paint definitely calling for attention. In fact, a 2 year renovation programme is planned to start this year, and the bright colours and golden dragons will make their reappearance.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 1 July 2016
Part of Skywatch Friday