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250 × 190 × 22 mm
368 pages
258 illustrations, 148 in colour
01 Jul 2015

A World of Gardens John Dixon Hunt

A Japanese garden is immediately distinct to the eye from the traditional gardens of an English manor house, just as the manicured topiaries of Versailles contrast with the sharp cacti of the American Southwest. Though gardening is beloved the world over, the style of gardens themselves varies from region to region, determined as much by culture as climate. In this series of illustrated essays, now available in paperback, John Dixon Hunt takes us on a world tour of different periods in the making of gardens.

Hunt shows here how cultural assumptions and local geography have shaped gardens and their meaning. He explores our continuing responses to land and reworkings of the natural world, encompassing a broad range of gardens, from ancient Roman times to early Islamic and Mughal gardens, from Venetian gardens to Chinese and Japanese gardens, as well as the the invention of the public park and modern landscape architecture. A World of Gardens looks at key chapters in garden history, reviewing their significance in past and present and tracing the recurrence of different themes and motifs in the design and reception of gardens throughout the world. 

A World of Gardens celebrates the idea that similar experiences of gardens can be found in many different times and places, including sacred landscapes, scientific gardens, urban gardens, secluded gardens, and symbolic gardens. Well illustrated and wide-ranging, this book is a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.

‘In this fascinating series of illustrated essays, John Dixon Hunt explores the influences behind the design of gardens around the globe and uncovers recurring themes throughout the ages. Ideal for both garden visitors and students of design.’ — The English Garden

‘A generous book, with an assortment of interesting imagery, this work is a well-presented historical examination of the garden . . . the book encourages you to look beyond the aesthetics of gardens to their origins, providing a context in which to better understand some of our greatest gardens.’ — Garden Design Journal

‘Though writing in an accessible and enjoyable style, the author is clearly drawing from an impressively broad and deep base of academic knowledge and personal experience. Recommended.’ — Choice

‘a comprehensive work of great value a giant distillation of the authors knowledge a reference book that makes many earlier histories almost irrelevant. ­’ — The Garden

‘A World of Gardens has two audiences. One is Hunts ideal garden visitor, the person alert to all imaginative possibilites. Hunt is the perfect tour guide, an erudite cultural historian . . . the other audience is professionals and students in landscape architecture for whom the book could be quite instructive.’ — The Pennsylvania Gazette

‘This captivating and richly illustrated work explores with most un-academic brio the fascinating variety of gardens found the world over. From the rough volcanic rocks used in Japanese gardens to the carefully-tended topiary of Versailles, Hunts magnificent tour of global horticulture opens our eyes to the garden in its many guises: playground, theater, laboratory, and cathedral.’ — Barnes and Noble Review

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John Dixon Hunt is Professor Emeritus of the History and Theory of Landscape, University of Pennsylvania. His previous books include A World of Gardens (Reaktion, 2012), Site, Sight, Insight: Essays on Landscape Architecture (2016), The Making of Place (Reaktion, 2016) and John Evelyn (Reaktion, 2017).

Introduction: The Garden World and the World of Gardens

1. Sacred Landscapes from Delphi to Yosemite
2. Hunting Parks to Amusement Parks
3. Ancient Roman Gardens and their Types
4. Islamic and Mughal Gardens
5. Western Medieval Gardens: From Cloister to Suburban Backyard
6. The Renaissance Recovery of Antique Garden Forms and Usages
7. The Paragone of Art and Nature in the Renaissance and Later
8. The Botanical Garden, the Arboretum and the Cabinet of Curiosities
9. Garden as Theatre
10. The Garden of 'Betweenity': Between André Le Nôtre and William Kent
11. Leaping the Ha-ha; or, How the Larger Landscape Invaded the Garden
12. The Role of the 'Natural' Garden from 'Capability' Brown to Dan Kiley
13. The Chinese Garden and the Collaboration of the Arts
14. Follies, Fabriques and Picturesque Play
15. The Invention of the Public Park
16. National Parks and International Exhibition Gardens
17. Japanese Gardens and their Legacy to the West
18. Arts and Crafts Gardens: The Artist Back in the Garden
19. The Prose and Poetry of Modern Landscape Architecture
20. The Once and Future Garden

Acknowledgements and Photo Acknowledgements