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The Ornamental Wilderness in the English Garden

Author/EditorBartos, James (Author)
ISBN: 9781914414350
Pub Date31/03/2022
BindingHardback
Pages296
Dimensions (mm)245(h) * 190(w)
£30.00
excluding shipping
Availability: Available to order but dispatch within 7-10 days
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The Ornamental Wilderness in the English Garden reinterprets the English formal garden of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries through the perspective of a typical feature of those gardens, the ornamental grove, called a wilderness. The wilderness became a prominent, indeed defining, feature of the formal gardens of this period. In its mature form, the wilderness constituted most or the whole of the garden and the setting in which all other features were placed.

This book is the first to examine comprehensively the contemporary literary and historic associations with groves and trees and to analyse how contemporary garden writers described and prescribed the features of a wilderness. After discussing continental precedents in their use of boschetti and bosquets, the book traces the history and development of the English wilderness through a typology of distinct types of wilderness as it changed over time. The book then addresses what happened to the wilderness and its relationship to the later landscape garden of the second half of the eighteenth century. Finally, the book explores how the wilderness expressed contemporary notions of taste that valued variety, surprise, cultural incident and a seeming naturalness achieved through artifice.

For a few generations, before tastes and gardens changed, the wilderness provided a world of its own, shady and private, the scene of solitary meditation as well as social activity and delight, a place where art and culture combined with nature, an important feature within the garden that expanded to be the setting for the whole of the garden.

The Ornamental Wilderness in the English Garden reinterprets the English formal garden of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries through the perspective of a typical feature of those gardens, the ornamental grove, called a wilderness. The wilderness became a prominent, indeed defining, feature of the formal gardens of this period. In its mature form, the wilderness constituted most or the whole of the garden and the setting in which all other features were placed.

This book is the first to examine comprehensively the contemporary literary and historic associations with groves and trees and to analyse how contemporary garden writers described and prescribed the features of a wilderness. After discussing continental precedents in their use of boschetti and bosquets, the book traces the history and development of the English wilderness through a typology of distinct types of wilderness as it changed over time. The book then addresses what happened to the wilderness and its relationship to the later landscape garden of the second half of the eighteenth century. Finally, the book explores how the wilderness expressed contemporary notions of taste that valued variety, surprise, cultural incident and a seeming naturalness achieved through artifice.

For a few generations, before tastes and gardens changed, the wilderness provided a world of its own, shady and private, the scene of solitary meditation as well as social activity and delight, a place where art and culture combined with nature, an important feature within the garden that expanded to be the setting for the whole of the garden.

James Bartos was awarded a PhD in Garden History from Bristol University in 2014. He has published in the journals Garden History and Die Gartenkunst. From 2015 -2020 he was Chairman of the Gardens Trust, a national charity devoted to the conservation of historic parks and gardens in England. Over the past 25 years, he has created a new garden in Dorset.

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