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Painshill Park was created between 1738 and 1773 by the Honourable Charles Hamilton and is one of the most important 18th century landscapes in Europe.

A painter, plantsman and brilliantly gifted, imaginative designer, Hamilton dedicated his creative genius to the layout and composition of a landscape garden which was unique in Europe – and still remains so.

In May 2006, Painshill was awarded full collection status for the John Bartram Heritage Collection, the first National Plant Collection of its type ever awarded and now used as a standard to judge other similar heritage collections finished between 1765 and 1770.

The 18th century Crystal Grotto was finished between 1765 and 1770.

It is considered to be the most spectacular and famous feature in Hamilton’s masterpiece and the finest of its type ever built.

Photography: Brian Wood. © Painshill/Surrey Museums Partnership

This is one of our History of Surrey in 50 Objects. It was chosen from around 150 items suggested by the Curators and Collections Officers of Surrey Museums to represent a moment, person or event which shaped or changed our county.

Visit the Explore Our Collections page on this site to see all 50 objects.