Tea Circle Oaks

Taliesin, Wisconsin, USA

Blown over in storm 1998

The Disappointed Tourist: Tea Circle Oaks, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Wisconsin was built into the brow of a hill while preserving two gigantic, old bur oak trees on the top. Wright constructed the “Tea Circle” around these oak trees and conversed with his students in their shade on warm summer days. When the first oak was felled by a bolt of lightning and the second toppled over in a windstorm  a devastating hole was left, as if the soul of the building had gone. A new bur oak will take decades to fill that gap. Margarete H.

The Tea Circle oaks were white oaks in Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin home and workshop. Wright constructed his tea circle around the existing oaks trees, one of which was struck by lightning in 1959, the year of Wright’s death. A second smaller oak that had been living in the shade of the destroyed tree, expanded to fill the space, until it too was felled by a storm in 1998. A new oak has been planted as a replacement.