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Norah Lindsay: The Life and Art of a Garden Designer [Hardcover]

Allyson Hayward
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 35.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2007
In the years between the wars Norah Lindsay (1873–1948) hugely influenced the course of garden design and planting. She developed her skills in her own garden at Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire, widely regarded as the most beautiful garden in England. Then, in 1924, facing financial ruin after the collapse of her marriage, she embarked on a career as a garden designer. Her commissions ranged from the gardens of quiet English manor houses to the grand estates of the country house set, to royal gardens in Italy, France and Yugoslavia. She gardened in different soils and varied climates across all of England and throughout Europe.

All this time she managed to give the impression that she remained 'a social butterfly, a gadfly'. The truth is that although she dined at the tables of the rich, the next day she would be up at dawn to work with their gardeners.

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Norah Lindsay: The Life and Art of a Garden Designer + Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (25 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711225249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711225244
  • Product Dimensions: 29.1 x 23.9 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Admirably illustrated and full of letters and forgotten details which are fascinating. It actually contains ideas about gardening which we should all take on board and some historical evidence which is extraordinarily valuable. (Robin Lane Fox Financial Times)

This captivating, fulsomely illustrated study of a singular woman is the result of painstaking research, which has revealed that Norah was much more canny and businesslike than her image suggests... the life story is a riot of fun and colour, right up until the end. (Tim Richardson Daily Telegraph)

An intimate portrait of upper-class life in the first half of the twentieth century, told almost exclusively from the letters, archives and conversations of Lindsay and her circle, and illustrated with a fine collection of then-and-now photographs. (Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Allyson Hayward is an American garden historian.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
NORAH MARY MADELINE BOURKE was born on April 26, 1873, in the family's cosy stone bungalow in Ootacamund, India. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norah Lindsay 4 Feb 2009
This book with fabulous photographs is a really fascinating read and I am not a keen gardener. A social history in many ways it gives a glimpse into fashionable society of the 1920-30's and beyond.

If any crictism and I have none I would say the book was so heavy I had to read it at the table!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Well . . . 8 Jan 2014
By V.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Being an admirer of Norah Lindsay's gardens set me up for the fall. It would have been a pretty good book
if more had been written about her gardens. Well, frankly, the life story depressed me.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars leading British garden designer of mid-1900s for estates and public works 3 Dec 2007
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Though the English woman Norah Lindsay's outstanding abilities as a gardener were widely known and respected among her circle of upper-class friends including Winston Churchill, the Prince of Wales, and Edith Wharton, she never considered making a career out of this--until at 51 and divorced, she found herself with "no husband, no money, no home," as she wrote a friend. It wasn't long before Lindsay began getting commissions for garden design and landscaping from her wealthy friends for their estates and for prominent public grounds. In the remaining 20 years of her life, she accomplished more visible and lasting landscaping than most professional landscaper designers with careers lasting a lifetime.

Black-and-white period photographs from the decades of the mid 1900s when Lindsay was active give a sense of the older, traditional English upper-class society and its tastes and attachment to its property she naturally appealed to. While later color photographs, often of the same scene and juxtaposed to it, bring out the color of the landscaping.

Her landscape design and reputation carried her to major works for upper-class and royalty in Italy, France, and elsewhere in Continental Europe. This study of Lindsay's garden design by a garden design historian is a portrait of an upper-class English life style that was largely lost in the latter decades of the 1900s, after the two World Wars and with the coming of the internationalist economic and cultural developments. Among illustrated material are mementos signed by Hilaire Belloc, another friend of Lindsay's. And besides the many period and later garden photographs are many of Lindsay's friends and acquaintances, e. g., the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Other photos such as letters of Lindsay to her sister open onto an intimate portrait of Lindsay. This finely-produced work with its balance of content by an author who is a graduate of the Harvard Landscape Institute and who traveled to many of Lindsay's surviving projects throughout Europe in her 10 years of work on the book focuses on the work, life, and social context of Norah Lindsay's work and projects so as to place her with the top level of garden designers for reasons of historical significance, stature of her projects, and garden-design aesthetics.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read 28 Nov 2007
By Sue Mack - Published on Amazon.com
This is a beautiful coffee table book...with the added bonus that it is a great read. This biography of English garden designer Norah Lindsay is lavishly illustrated with beautiful photographs of the gardens she designed during the years between the wars. It is a must for anyone interested in the history of garden design and plantings, or with an interest in the social and political events between the wars. It's not just for someone with an interest in gardens - reading about her friends was fascinating. I gave this book 5-stars because for me it was an entertaining read with a wonderful insight into Norah Lindsay's life, career, and friends.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story Great Gardens 28 Nov 2007
By Tati Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is fascinating not just because the pictures are so interesting and beautiful. Love seeing lifestyles of the rich and famous as well as showing her work then and now. Her life was so Masterpiece Theatre meets Dirty Sexy Money. I can just imagine her story of aristocracy (Prince of Wales, Lady Diana Cooper) mingling with Cafe Society (Maud Cunard, Sybil Colefax) partying with Hollywood (David Niven, Paulette Goddard, Charlie Chaplin) as a great TV series or movie. What fun!
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