John Dixon Hunt is widely considered one of the foremost of today's writers on the history and theory of gardens and landscape architecture. Gardens and the Picturesque collects eleven of Hunt's essays—several of them never before published—that deal with the ways in which men and women have given meaning to gardens and landscapes, especially with the ways in which gardens have represented the world of nature "picturesquely."
Ranging over subjects from the cult of the picturesque to verbal-visual parallels within gardens, from allegorical imagery to landscape painting, these essays brilliantly invoke Hunt's fascination with the idea of the garden both as a milieu—by which gardens become the most eloquent expressions of complex cultural ideas—and as a site of cultural translation, whereby one period shapes for its own purposes the ideas and forms inherited from its predecessors.
A garden classic, The Genius of the Place reveals that the history of landscape gardening is much more than a history of design and style; it opens up a wide perspective of English cultural history, showing how landscape gardening was gradually transformed over two centuries into an art that has been widely imitated throughout Europe and North America.
The English landscape garden is richly documented in this anthology. Over 100 illustrations accompany writings that range from Francis Bacon to Jane Austin; from the early 1600s, when Englishmen began to determine their own concept and form of the garden, through the first half of the eighteenth century when its distinctive feature emerged, to the heyday of the landscape garden under "Capability" Brown and the reactions to his pure formalism under Repton and Loudon in the 1800s. This edition contains a new introduction and bibliography covering the many developments in garden history during the last dozen years.
John Dixon Hunt is Professor in the School of English and American Studies at the University of East Anglia and editor of the International Journal of Garden History. Peter Willis, an architect, is reader in the History of Architecture at the University of Newcastle.