A visit to the Brief Garden, the country home of Bevis Bawa, a celebrated landscape artist, a sculptor and a gentleman of leisure helps you rediscover an era where life moved at a slower pace and was less complicated.
The elder brother of Sri Lanka’s architectural genius Geoffrey Bawa, Bevis started his work on the Brief Garden in 1929. Having inherited the land from his mother, Bevis continued to create his country home and a series of small themed gardens blending into one. His playful approach and personalized touch had created a time capsule of memories and art that can be enjoyed by visitors even today.
The Brief Garden has hosted many celebrities in its heydey including real royals and Hollywood royals Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, the Duke of Windsor, Agatha Christie, and Australian artist Donald Friend who came for a holiday and stayed for nearly six years.
Bawa’s residence has been a haven for local artists including Laki Senanayake, Chitasena and Vajira, Ena De Silva and Barbra Sansoni, whose work is prominently displayed in the house.
The path to The Brief Garden falls through paddy fields and sleepy villages and the journey ends by a gate guarded by two statues. Walking up a sweeping staircase the guests enter an enchanted space of greenery, birdsong, isolated nooks and crannies, and curated walk paths.
The main house is surrounded by a series of small garden spaces with their own theme, design, and sculptures. Sculpting was Bevis’s particular passion and some of his best work can be still found scattered around the estate.