Charles Elliott

Politics and Parterres

The Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden

By

Bantam Press 359pp £20 order from our bookshop

In 1733 a disgruntled but extremely rich Whig minister and one-time military man named Richard Temple, First Viscount Cobham, lost his political position and retired to his country estate in Buckinghamshire. What he chose to do then gives a whole new meaning to the expression ‘gardening leave’, for in his exile from power Cobham completed Stowe, the most celebrated and influential of all English landscape gardens. Representing the efforts of at least three of the premier designers of the era (Charles Bridgeman, William Kent and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown), who worked on the garden over the course of forty years, Stowe still survives – in rather diminished form, it has to be said – as a testament to the heights achieved by this most British of art forms.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,