Lord Bern-Hares and his Hare Brained Folly

Lord Bern-Hares and his Hare-Brained Folly by Karen Vogt

About the Hare

Lord Bern-Hares and his Hare Brained Folly
I chose Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson. 14th Baron Berners more commonly known as Lord Berners, as my subject for the Cotswolds Hare Trail as he was a colourful and flamboyant local character who gave the town of Faringdon its most iconic landmark, the Folly Tower.
He was an acclaimed composer, writer, painter and eccentric, who lived at faringdon House from 1931 until his death in 1950. There he entertained the great and the good from the ...
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Lord Bern-Hares and his Hare Brained Folly

I chose Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson. 14th Baron Berners more commonly known as Lord Berners, as my subject for the Cotswolds Hare Trail as he was a colourful and flamboyant local character who gave the town of Faringdon its most iconic landmark, the Folly Tower.

He was an acclaimed composer, writer, painter and eccentric, who lived at faringdon House from 1931 until his death in 1950. There he entertained the great and the good from the worlds of the arts and high society. He was famous for dying his pigeons in rainbow colours. When not in fancy dress he was usually seen in a 3 piece suit with a bowler hat, or skull cap when indoors.

He composed music for several ballets, also avant-garde piano music and many songs. The music in his left ear is from his song: ‘Du Bist Wie Eine Blume (The white Pig)’ and the rose in his button hole refers to the song ‘Red Roses and Red Noses’. The lobster in his breast pocket is a nod to his interest in surrealism.

Berners’ greatest and lasting gift to the town of Faringdon was the folly Tower which he had built in 1935 as a birthday present for his friend Robert Heber-Percy. A blue plaque (see the hare’s tail) commemorates the occasion. The Tower, the last major Folly to be built in England, stands 100 feet high, encircled by a woodland of scots pine and broadleaf trees, some more than 200 years old. The view from the top takes in the Cotswolds to the north, and the ancient Uffington White Horse to the south. Poppies carpet the slopes of Folly Hill in the summer and on winter nights, a pink star shines out like a beacon from the top of the Tower.

Berners wrote his own epitaph which sums him up perfectly:

“Here lies lord Berners

One of the learners

His great love of learning

May earn him a burning

But Praise the Lord!

He seldom was bored.”

 

Artist

Karen Vogt

Artist Biography

I have lived in faringdon for over 30 years and have been involved in many local art projects including public commissions. I am passionate about justice and peace issues and help to manage a Fairtrade shop’
I normally work in 3D – stone and clay. My stone carvings are often figurative ...
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I have lived in faringdon for over 30 years and have been involved in many local art projects including public commissions. I am passionate about justice and peace issues and help to manage a Fairtrade shop’

I normally work in 3D – stone and clay. My stone carvings are often figurative or birds and animals. My clay work is inspired by organic forms in nature.

Sponsor

Rosalind Burns