Town mouse visits Doddington Hall

Following the pharaohs.

I don’t suppose even the pharaohs built their pyramids without forethought. Certainly, Antony Jarvis has taken a considered approach for the one he’s erected at Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire. He conceived the idea as a riposte to Denis Healey, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early 1970s, for his wanting to make the pips of the rich squeak. A tax exemption was offered to owners of outstanding listed houses with land that constituted part of the historic setting. Mr Jarvis and his wife, Victoria, planted an avenue, with a pyramid at the end of it designed by Mr Jarvis himself, who trained as an architect.

Finished earlier this year, it already looks as though it might have been there for centuries. Most pyramids in English landscape parks are angled at 45 degrees, but Mr Jarvis chose a steeper pitch for the sides—70 degrees. This gives it a somewhat French look (the Parc Monceau pyramid in Paris, 1778, comes to mind). It also allows for a door, which gives into a saucer-domed vault. The blocks come from the concrete floor of a grain store, broken up by a mechanical pecker. This provides a rustic effect, with the blocks diminishing in size towards the top. Quartzite pebbles in the concrete make it glitter in the sunshine. Altogether, it’s a masterpiece—how long before it’s listed?

* Follow Clive Aslet on Twitter

* Follow Country Life Magazine on Twitter