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Dimensions:
250 × 190 mm
200 pages
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781861893932
Illustrations:
156 illustrations, 144 in colour
Published:
01 Dec 2008

Nature Over Again The Garden Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay John Dixon Hunt

Though Ian Hamilton Finlay’s (1925-2006) work Little Sparta is, according to Sir Roy Strong, 'the most important garden made in Britain since 1945’, his influence - and work - is found worldwide. Nature Over Again reveals the story behind the majority of Finlay’s renowned garden installations, and is the first study to examine his garden designs and 'interventions’ in a consequential way.

An accomplished Scottish poet, writer, artist and gardener, Finlay infused his garden designs with a distinct aesthetic philosophy and poetic sensibility. John Dixon Hunt situates his analysis of Finlay's gardens in the context of that broader philosophy and poetic work, drawing on Finlay’s books, prints and other written reflections about the art and practice of garden design. From the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart to the Serpentine Gallery in London to the University of California at San Diego campus, the book documents how Finlay built an oeuvre of international renown, and ultimately argues that Finlay’s innovations are best understood in the context of the long tradition of European gardens.

Copiously illustrated, Nature Over Again brings the work of this distinguished Modernist to vivid life, making it an essential read for horticulturists, landscape designers and historians alike.

‘Dixon Hunt is a sensitive guide, alighting on often complex and intertwined themes while lending Finlay’s garden art a seriousness that seems to elude some art historians. Keeping the reader attuned to poetry in art and nature, it’s a book that will appeal equally to fans of Finlay and ardent horticulturists.’ – Time Out 

‘In Nature Over Again, University of Pennsylvania professor John Dixon Hunt is an expert guide to the complexities of Little Sparta and Finlay’s other major works - most notably his evocative Fleur de l’Air garden in Provence. Whether discussing a bird table in the shape of an aircraft carrier, a gilded head of Apollo or a row of guillotines, Dixon Hunt illuminates Finlay's intentions and shows that "meaning" and “pleasure” are not at odds . . . an incisive book.’ – Architects’ Journal

‘This stimulating read is aimed at landscape designers, historians and horticulturalists . . . The discussion places Finlay’s philosophical and poetic approach within a long tradition of creative garden making in Europe . . . It’s a breath of fresh air after all the glossy photographic books on gardens in which text appears secondary and fails to say something new.’ – Garden Design Journal

‘This well-illustrated and enjoyable essay is a welcome addition to the literature on Ian Hamilton Finlay, and is the first significant publication about his work since his death in 2006 . . . by drawing attention to a great many of the issues with which Finlay engaged in his intellectually exploratory art of gardens - also helps to create agendas for further thinking about his work.’ – Edinburgh Review

‘It was with pleasurable anticipation and a long-established interest in all things to do with gardens, that I read Nature Over Again. I wasn’t disappointed . . . This will be a welcome addition to many garden lovers’ bookshelves and is the first book to cover all of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden designs.’ – Scots magazine

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John Dixon Hunt is Emeritus Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including Greater Perfections: The Practice of Garden Theory (2000), The Picturesque Garden in Europe (2002), and The Afterlife of Gardens (Reaktion Books, 2004).