Petersham Village is situated adjacent to the River Thames between Richmond and Ham and forms part of the remarkable view from Richmond Hill towards Windsor.
So iconic is the view that it was the first landscape in England to have a parliamentary preservation order applied to it, the Richmond Ham and Petersham Open Spaces Act 1902. Preservation work continues under the auspices of the Arcadia in the City scheme.
Sir Joshua Reynolds painted the scene in 1788. William Wordsworth heard choirs of nightingales here, recording them in a sonnet of 1820, and a century later, the Austrian Expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka produced one of the more striking contemporary depictions of the view.
‘The Thames Landscape Strategy Hampton to Kew’ was launched in 1994 as a new way of understanding, planning and managing the river corridor. Ten years on, the Strategy won a £2.3m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid - 'London's Arcadia' to restore the view from Richmond Hill and work was completed in 2009.
The goal of the project was restore this extraordinary stretch of countryside in the city that was the cradle of the English Landscape Movement in the eighteenth century. It combines bustling urban waterfronts, grazed water meadows and Capability Brown parkland to create an Arcadian landscape that welcomes both people and wildlife.
See www.londons-arcadia.org.uk for more information.