on 3 June 2008
This is an entertainingly, spiritedly and wittily written book divided into 20 pp. chapters devoted to a gardener or a phenomenon (Rococo gardens). Mowl has immersed himself in this easeful culture from Jones to Repton but is not afraid of spelling out the limitations and corruptions of the protagonists as if they were still engaged in their intellectual and aesthetic battles. Some of the often contemporary documents are fun (with men shooting sheep [?] and laughable topiary), and the language of the gardeners and designers themselves - I like Switzer's `mazie Error' (Germanism) and `Twinings and Windings' - is a baroque (or occasionally Augustan) delight. One also learns words - devonshir your lawn and put a skew-bridge up why don't ye. Bung Purcell or Lindley depending on the CD player and settle down with these amiable chancers, lunatics and geniuses.