Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NX 68101 51071
268101, 551071

A fine town garden created in the 1920s by the Scots impressionist artist E.A. Hornel. It is designed as a series of compartments which back on to the banks of the River Dee, and the garden provides the setting for a category A listed house.

Type of Site

An early 20th century town garden established by the acclaimed contemporary impressionist artist from the Glasgow School, Hornel, with influences from his travels to places such as Japan, Burma and Ceylon in a series of compartments that together create an artist's garden of inspiration and contemplation.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Established 1901-1933 and maintained until 1950.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

The garden was a fine example of the work of the artist E.A. Hornel and has outstanding value as a Work of Art today.


Level of interest

As an example of a 1920s' town garden, Broughton House has high Historical value.


Level of interest

Although much of the original plant material has gone, the garden has some Horticultural value.


Level of interest

The garden provides the setting for a grade A listed building and thus has outstanding Architectural value.


Level of interest
Not Assessed


Level of interest

Broughton House garden has no Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

Broughton House garden has no Nature Conservation value.

Location and Setting

Broughton House is situated in the High Street of the town of Kirkcudbright which lies on the east bank of the River Dee. The garden or 'lang rig' extends north of the house to the banks of the River Dee which flows into the Solway Firth some 7km downstream. Kirkcudbright is the confluence of seven main roads and it is a popular tourist centre. Views out of the garden can be obtained from the northern boundary where an area has been created for the view afforded of the river, its traffic, and the rolling agricultural land on the opposite bank. The garden is secluded and has no impact on the surrounding landscape.


Site History

The garden in its present form was created by Hornel with the aid of his family between 1901-1933 and was probably continued by his sister until 1950. No layout plans are known to exist. The Trust has a collection of early photographs which show the garden in c.1930.

Broughton House was originally the town house of the Murrays of Broughton in Wigtownshire and Cally. It was purchased by Edward Atkinson Hornel in 1901. Born in Victoria, Australia, in 1864, he came to Britain with his parents 18 months later and settled in their native Kirkcudbright. He spent most of his life there prior to 1880 when he went to Art College in Edinburgh. He was a contemporary of W.M. Frazer RSA, Sir D.Y. Cameron, W.S. McGeorge and Wishart, the latter two of whom he spent time with at the Verlat Academy in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1883, his painting 'A Glimpse of Kirkcudbright' was accepted by the Royal Scottish Academy. He declined the offer of an Associateship of the Academy in 1901. In the same year, he purchased Broughton House and subsequently added the gallery and also remodelled the garden at the back of the house. Hornel was one of the founder members of the Glasgow School of Impressionist painters. He travelled extensively with fellow member George Henry, in particular to Japan, Burma and Ceylon, which not only provided inspiration for his painting but also material for the garden which he had established at Broughton House. Charles Oppenheimer, the landscape painter, was his friend and also his tenant of the neighbouring house on High Street.

Hornel compiled a fine library over many years and contributions were received from many of his contemporaries, among them, Thomas Frazer of Maxwellknowe, Dalbeattie. It now contains some 15,000 books.

Throughout his life, Hornel was looked after by his sister, Elizabeth, who shared his interests in art and gardening. On his death in 1933, he left the life-rent of the house to her. On her death in 1950 the Trust, which now manages his estate, took over his Bequest. Hornel wished that Broughton House 'be preserved as a public art gallery for the benefit of the people of the Stewartry and visitors thereto'. The Friends of the Hornel Art Gallery & Library help to raise funds to augment the Trust.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Broughton House is a classical 18th century building, with a raised, railed forecourt and it is listed category A. The Gallery was an addition to the back of the house commissioned by Hornel to the designs of John Keppie c.1910. It extends into the garden forming a feature in its south-east corner.

Garden ornamentation is collectively listed A and includes two late 17th century gatepiers with pineapple finials and cast iron gates which separate the terrace adjacent to the house from the garden, three sundials of 17th & 18th century origin, and hollow stone troughs which are distributed around the garden.

The Gardens

The garden is divided into a series of compartments. Nearest the house is the 'Japanese' garden, laid out with the concept of irregularity. A path runs through this area from the 17th century gates and leads to a raised rockery before dividing; one branch extends across stepping stones and past the pond within which stands the statue of the Crane. A large cherry tree overhangs the pond surrounded by Phormium and water plants, and beyond this is an espaliered Wisteria, probably planted by Hornel. Stone troughs are planted with dwarf pines. From here, an irregular flagstone path runs to the bottom of the garden and a series of rectangular beds enclosed by box are laid out on either side. The west-facing wall and border has a range of climbing and flowering shrubs and a collection of tree paeonies planted in the 1920s. There is a fine Edwardian greenhouse and a summerhouse.

It would appear that Hornel and his sister had a keen interest in plants and, besides acquiring material during his trips to the Far East, plants were acquired from friends, evident from a series of uncatalogued letters of Miss Hornel. In its heyday, the garden was indeed fine, as photographs of c.1925 in the house show. An essay describing the garden was written by Dorothy M. McBirnie in the same year.




Printed Sources

Broughton House, Illustrated Souvenir, 1959

SM, Mar 1965; SM, 1952, vol 48

G.A. Little, 1981

About the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

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Printed: 23/04/2024 16:19