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The Planters of the English Landscape Garden - Chambers, Douglas D. C. - Yale University Press
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The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Published for the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art  
 


The Planters of the English Landscape Garden

Botany, Trees, and the Georgics

  • Douglas D. C. Chambers
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There have been many studies of the English landscape garden of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, but most of these have concentrated on the tastes of owners or the technical plans of designers. This handsomely illustrated book by Douglas D.C. Chambers instead discusses the philosophy of gardening and landscaping that developed during this period, the gardeners who made the gardens, and the new planting materials available to them.

Between 1650 and 1750, new developments in botanical horticulture led to the availability of a vast new repertory of trees and shrubs. These imports, mainly from America, were the materials that made the extensive English landscape garden possible. Inspired by texts of Virgil, Pliny, and Horace as well as by scientific advances of the newly founded Royal Society, theorists and designers, owner-planters, and countless gardeners and nurserymen used the expanded vocabulary of botanical taxonomy to create gardens that transformed the look of the English landscape. Chambers illustrates how philosophy and practice, ancient ideals and horticultural experimentation all served one end: the creation of an ideal landscape that was both Edenic and classical. Out of this came not only the foundation collection for the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew but an English landscape of forest garden, ferme ornée, and park landscape that would have been inconceivable a century earlier: the English landscape that we know today.

Douglas D.C. Chambers is professor of English at the University of Toronto.

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