Tim Richardson

Happy Horticulturalists

The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession

By

William Heinemann 356pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

Ever since Sir Nikolaus Pevsner suggested, in the Architectural Review in 1944, that the eighteenth-century landscape garden was Britain's greatest contribution to the visual arts of the West – with the possible exception of Perpendicular Gothic architecture – the gates to the garden have been ajar to scholars from the disciplines of art and architectural history. This has been greatly to the benefit of garden history as a subject in its own right, even if most art historians have tended to confine themselves to a few key gardens, such as Stowe and Stourhead.

Literary historians have also made useful forays into the shrubberies, temples and grottoes, decoding the double lives of garden-obsessed poets such as Alexander Pope and William Shenstone. Recently, the political motivations behind the development

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