The Riverside Gardens of Thomas More's London C.Paul Christianson

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Publication date:
18 Nov 2005
160 pages: 234 x 189 x 21mm
80 black & white illustrations, 40 colour images

All but forgotten today, eight historic gardens that once flourished along the length of the Thames in early Tudor London are here historically recreated and analyzed in this richly illustrated book. One of the gardens belonged to Sir Thomas More, and the others to politically powerful friends and acquaintances of his. The stories of these long-lost gardens, brought together here for the first time, shed new light not only on London's garden history and that of its first gardeners but also on the lives and outlooks of some of the most important figures within and around the court of Henry VIII. The locations of these gardens range from the Tower of London to More's own country manor at Chelsea, from Cardinal Wolsey's York Place in Westminster (later transformed into Whitehall Palace by Henry VIII) to Hampton Court. More than any single garden could, the group of eight riverside gardens illuminates not only the practical realities but also the political importance of gardens. The book explores in detail the gardens that More knew so well and shows how their histories are intimately connected to his own.

C. Paul Christianson is Mildred Foss Thompson Professor of English Emeritus at the College of Wooster (Ohio).

"... meticulous and detailed but packed with fascinations... Anybody who cares for gardens or English history will want [this book] for Christmas."---Jane Gardam, Literary Review

"...fascinating... An invaluable guide to the capital's early garden history..." - Janina Pogorzelski, The Lady

"The most delicious book for wandering through..."---The Spectator

'[A] beautifully illustrated book' - Jenny Usglow, World of Interiors

"This sumptuously illustrated book recreates eight early Tudor gardens along the banks of the Thames, from Hampton Court in the west to the Tower of London. . . . [The book] brings the gardens back to life by locating them on period maps and engravings, and by establishing Thomas More's relation to each site."ÑChristine Coch, Renaissance Quarterly

"A nicely researched and written study of garden history and what can be learned from it."ÑCharlotte Tancin, Huntia

"Magnificent."ÑAlvaro Silva, Moreana

"Historical gardens are all too often presented from a bird's eye view; by envisioning gardens through More's eyes, Christianson simultaneously grounds his views and allows for some flights of fancy."ÑLeah Knight, Sixteenth Century Journal