‘English Garden Eccentrics is a compilation of enjoyably singular case studies but if there is an overarching theme it is that in gardens we find reflections of human yearning.’ Financial Times
In English Garden Eccentrics, renowned landscape architect and historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan reveals a series of obscure and eccentric English garden-makers who, between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, created intensely personal and idiosyncratic gardens.
English Garden Eccentrics includes fascinating characters such as the superstitious antiquary William Stukeley and the animal- and bird-loving Lady Read, as well as the celebrated master of Vauxhall Gardens, Jonathan Tyers, who created at his home at Denbies one of the gloomiest and most perverse anti-pleasure gardens in Georgian England. Others built miniature mountains, shaped topiaries, displayed exotic animals, excavated caves, and assembled architectural fragments and fossils to realize their gardens in a way that was often thought excessive.
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan reveals what it is about the gardener and their creation that can be seen as eccentric and focuses on an area of garden history that has scarcely been explored: gardens as expressions of the character of their maker and, therefore, gardens as a form of autobiography. This lively and informative book calls on gardeners today to learn from example and dare to be unconventional.