English Garden Eccentrics Three Hundred Years of Extraordinary Groves, Burrowings, Mountains and Menageries Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Publication date:
26 Apr 2022
Paul Mellon Centre
400 pages: 241 x 165mm
198 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A highly original examination of a series of unique gardens made by English eccentrics from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries

In his new book, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan looks at a series of unique gardens made by English eccentrics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Their unusual creators—from the superstitious antiquary William Stukeley (d.1765), to the pleasure-ground proprietor Jonathan Tyers (d.1767), and the bird-loving Lady Reade (d.1811)—built miniature mountains, shaped topiary, collected animals, excavated caves, and assembled architectural fragments to realize their gardens in a way that was, and sometimes still is, thought to be excessive.
Bringing together garden and landscape history with cultural history and biography, English Garden Eccentrics examines what it is about the gardener and his or her creation that can be seen as eccentric and analyzes an area of garden history that has scarcely been previously explored: gardens seen as expressions of the singular character of their makers, and therefore functioning, in effect, as a form of autobiography.
This lively and accessible book calls on gardeners today to learn from example and dare to be eccentric.

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan is a landscape architect with an international practice based in London. He is gardens adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, lecturer at New York University (London), founding member and president of the London Historic Parks & Gardens Trust, and editor of The London Gardener.