Click here for previous lectures

16 January 2018The History of the English Garden
20 February 2018Things that go Bump in the night - why medieval buildings fall down
20 March 2018Mars and Muses - The Renaissance Art of Armour
17 April 2018Sutton Hoo and the Golden Age of Old England
15 May 2018The Most Infamous Family In History: The Borgias
19 June 2018Annual General Meeting followed by Velazquez - The Great Magician of Art

Click on a row and scroll to display more details about the lecture

The History of the English Garden Barbara Peacock Tuesday 16 January 2018

England has created some of the most beautiful gardens in the history of garden art. In this lecture we shall trace the development of the English gardens from Tudor times through to the twentieth century. Our early formal gardens owe much to the influence of Italy and France; whereas these were mostly destroyed in the later ‘naturalistic’ landscaping vogue, we can form an excellent idea of what they were like through paintings and engravings. Many such gardens were created in England on and many fragments of great formal schemes survive. However, whereas the formal garden was based on ideas from abroad, the creation of the eighteenth century naturalistic landscape park was a uniquely English achievement, and one that influenced the design of gardens and parks throughout Europe. The development of the landscape garden is one of the most fascinating episodes in the history of taste, as all the arts-poetry, philosophy, painting and literature-played a part in the development of these great parks. 

In the Victorian period, we see a return to formality, but in the Edwardian gardens of Lutyens and Jekyll a compromise is reached: the plan is formal and architectural, but the planting is generous and naturalistic. The partnership resulted in some of the finest English gardens, and had a lasting influence on twentieth-century design. The  lecture will be fully illustrated.

Reading List

The English Garden   L. Fleming and A. Gore            

Gentlemen and Players: Gardeners of the English  Landscape Garden  T. Mowl

Polite Landscapes: Gardens and Society in Eighteenth Century England  T. Wiliamson