The Edwardian Garden

David Ottewill, Author Yale University Press $75 (240p) ISBN 978-0-300-04338-9
Richly illustrated only begins to describe this sumptuous tome, with its colorful vistas and detailed images of England's most ambitious gardens cultivated during the indulgently eclectic Edwardian age. The splendid illustrations accompany a dense, intelligent survey tracing the long-established feud between architect and gardener (and their respective advocacies of formal versus freestyle gardens) and recording faithfully stylistic shifts and revivals between 1850 and 1925, from the sturdy allegiance to the romantic Scottish pleasaunce to the ``demented but short-lived craze for the Japanese garden'' and, throughout, the abiding and influential shadow cast by the majestic gardens of 17th-century Italy. The careers of the major garden designers are discussed with their representative work, but special attention is rightfully given to the collaboration of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, whose projects were ``a symbol of a new concept of home and garden'' and a nearly perfect synthesis of architecture and landscape. Architect and writer Ottewill's all-too-occasional asides associating landscaping movements with Edwardian lives and political movements are of particular interest. (June)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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