The Tuscan Villa Project consisted of three murals of varying subject matter, positioning and technical challenges. The client’s property was based on an Italian villa by design, including a loggia and peschiera. In keeping with the property, and taste of the client, we created a series of murals inspired by Italian gardens, landscape and architecture.

The Formal Italian Garden

The Formal Italian Garden mural was inspired by some of Italy’s finest gardens, as exemplified by author Vivian Russell in her book “Edith Wharton’s Italian Gardens.” The aim was to transform a somewhat lifeless area consisting of a peschiera (fish pond) and a facade with lion’s head fountain. Utilising the existing framework on the facade, and lion’s head, we created a trompe l’oeil fountain and formal Italian garden that opened up this area.


The height of the existing pond’s walls was a little low, so this was raised to accommodate the trompe l’oeil pond and overflow.

The initial concept in sepia pen & ink
A small oil painting study was done to show the client how the trompe l’oeil should look.

Inspiration was taken by 17th & 18th century Italian gardens and architecture, including that of English architect Inigo Jones.

The Greco-Roman God Apollo occupies a Doric gateway / grotto inspired by examples from Villa Cetinale in Tuscany, and a 1621 version at Beaufort House, Chelsea, by Inigo Jones.
Overflow from the painted pond reaches below the waterline. The trompe is prepared and sealed with great care to ensure the water doesn’t destroy all the hard work.
Detail of the resident peacock. Another Gatehouse is seen in the distance, housing the Roman Goddess Flora.


Since this photo was taken, the pond has now become established with reeds and lilies and gold fish.
The surrounding area of the facade and walls was finished with washes of time-aged yellow and red ochres.