Painshill Park (also referred to as "Pains Hill" in some nineteenth century texts), near Cobham, Surrey, England, is one of the finest remaining examples of an 18th century English landscape park. It was designed and created between 1738 and 1773 by the Hon. Charles Hamilton (MP).
Painshill Park is owned by Elmbridge Borough Council and managed by the Painshill Park Trust. Painshill, which is open to the public (with entry charge), has a Grade 1 Heritage listing. In 1998 Painshill Park was awarded the Europa Nostra Medal for the "Exemplary restoration from a state of extreme neglect, of a most important 18th century landscape park and its extraordinary buildings." In May 2006 Painshill was awarded full collection status for its John Bartram Heritage Collection, by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG).
Charles Hamilton was born in 1704 in Dublin, the 9th son and 14th child of the 6th Earl of Abercorn. He was educated at Westminster School and Oxford, and went on two Grand Tours, one in 1725 and a further one in 1732.
In 1738 Hamilton began to acquire land at Painshill and, over the years, built up a holding of more than 200 acres (0.81 km2). His park was among the earliest to reflect the changing fashion in garden design prompted by the Landscape Movement, which started in England in about 1730. It represented the move away from geometric formality in garden design to a new naturalistic formula. Hamilton eventually ran out of money and sold the estate in 1773. Many of the trees and shrubs planted by Hamilton were sent to him from Philadelphia by the naturalist John Bartram. The garden was open to respectable visitors, who were shown round by the head gardener for a tip, and was visited by many well-known figures including two visits by William Gilpin, pioneer of the Picturesque, Thomas Jefferson with John Adams, and Prince Franz of Anhalt-Dessau separately, on special tours of gardens, and the important landscape garden author Thomas Whately. Then as now there was a particular route round The Park recommended, designed to bring the visitor upon the successive views with best effect. Views from Painshill were painted on plates for a Wedgewood service of porcelain commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia.