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English Gardens of the Twentieth Century: From the Archives of "Country Life" [Hardcover]

Tim Richardson

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Book Description

25 Jun 2005
For over a century, Country Life has been an influential force in the world of garden design, chiefly as a result of its weekly articles on country houses and gardens illustrated with specially commissioned photography. The magazine's unrivalled archive of photographs is the key source for this comprehensive history of the changing styles of garden design during the twentieth century. Gertrude Jekyll was one of the first contributors and advisors to Country Life, and in her wake a succession of gardening and architectural editors has used its pages to champion a favoured garden style. Tim Richardson, himself a former gardens editor of the magazine, has drawn on this remarkable legacy to produce the first serious study of English garden design in the twentieth century. The story begins with Arts and Crafts gardens, typified by herbaceous borders and modern planting, and continues with the Edwardian debate between formality and 'wild' gardening, interwar grandeur, post-war practicality, and finally the emergence of visionary and pioneering artists' gardens.

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About the Author

Tim Richardson, formerly gardens editor of Country Life, is a garden historian specialising in Eighteenth Century, Twentieth Century and contemporary gardens. He was the founding editor of New Eden, the award-winning modern gardens magazine. His much-praised history of confectionery, Sweets: A History of Temptation, was published in paperback by Bantam in 2004. He is also the author of English Gardens of the Twentieth Century, published by Aurum.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A century of beautiful gardens 10 Sep 2005
By Phillip O. - Published on
For over a century, Country Life magazine has been documenting the great houses and gardens in England. Their photographic library consists of over 10,000 images - this book presents 200 of them, beginning with the formal bedding gardens of Victorian England and progressing through the Arts and Crafts gardens of the Edwardian era as well as modernist gardens, artists gardens, wild gardens and cottage gardens. The emphasis is on the Arts and Crafts gardens and the influence that Gertrude Jeckyll and Edward Lutyens had on garden design. An entire chapter is devoted to Jeckyll - other chapters cover landscape architects who were influenced by Jeckyll and Lutyens, the popularity of borders, Sissinghurst and Hidcote, the Modernist Garden, Romance and Restraint (following World War II), From Smart to Art (Artist's Gardens) and the final chapter "Making it Over" which discusses how some of the major estate gardens have been saved and restored. The prose is very interesting and informative (although the author can be very opinionated) but the highlight of the book are the remarkable photographs. Most of them are black and white with the exception of a few duotones (of Jeckyll's gardens) and color photos in the last chapter. The book is beautiful, printed on heavy glossy paper and any garden lover will love it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jewel 6 Aug 2007
By Ivogun - Published on
I find this book fascinating. It's not a typical coffee table book or a how-to-book. Rather it's a book about the history of English landscaping in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The black and white photos are period pictures that are being used to illustrate points made by the author about gardens as they were once (not as they are now, if they even still exist.) The pictures are not just being used as eye candy. Mind you I love books filled with beautiful pictures. (Oh, I really do!), but that is not the purpose of this book. This is the book to read *after* you have looked at the picture books, and you find yourself yearning for more. Look at the picture books...then read this one.

I am learning a lot about the design of the great gardens of England and even some of my personal tastes in garden from this book. Worse yet, it has started me redesigning (in my own mind) a couple of the local historic gardens near me. <Sigh>
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enormous disappoinment 15 May 2007
By garden designer - Published on
I read the glowing reviews and purchased the book - it is a shame that no one mentioned the fact that 75% of the images used to illustrate the book are black and white photos. The book concerns gardens of the 20th century, and was published in the 21st century - someone needs to let the author know that photographic techniques have advanced quite a bit. At the very least it would have been nice to know that the book I was purchasing with over "200 superb photographs" were mostly low contrast black and white images. I suppose I should have paid more attention to the "printed on thick, glossy paper" part of the review as a warning.
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