The Folly Fellowship was founded in 1988 as a pressure group to protect, preserve, and promote follies, grottoes & garden buildings. At this time, many follies were in a ruinous condition (although some were built that way) and the genre was largely an historic one that we felt worth preserving. However, since that time, there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of these buildings to our landscapes. Many have been restored, and several have been completely rebuilt with local support. Better still, some individuals with imagination and the tenacity to fight the planning process, have begun to build new follies. The rise in popularity of television building programmes has encouraged people to try and squeeze something a little unusual in their back gardens. Follies are no longer the preserve of architectural historians and the very rich. If you’d like to find out more, join us, and be part of this group who celebrate this particular branch of architecture that loves to break the rules of what is normal in buildings.
Note that apart from encouraging you to join the Folly Fellowship, this site is not about selling you anything – it is intended as a resource to enable you to find out more about the fascinating subject. So if you are writing a thesis on garden architecture, looking for an architect to design you a folly, or looking for ideas to build your own folly, dig in, there’s plenty of inspiration here.
You may have read elsewhere about the recent death of grotto restorer and builder, Diana Reynell, who did the restoration of Painshill Grotto amongst many others. We received a long article by Roger Capps who worked with Diana on several projects and it was too long for the magazine so you may read it here. It’s well worth it.
The drawing below is of Diana sitting in Painshill Grotto drinking champagne and waiting for the boat to come in. Funding for the restoration had come to a halt but Diana carried on working on it for another year at her own expense.
An article entitled “It’s not bonkers to be fond of a folly” appeared in the Times on Jan 26th