Visiting London

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on August 5, 2010

From The New York Times Book Review (30 July 2010) . . .

Julie Flavell, When London Was Capital of America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), ISBN: 9780300137392, $32.50.

Reviewed by Andrea Wulf

In the decades before the Declaration of Independence, thousands of American colonists visited London. Wealthy Southern plantation owners and New England merchants, husbands and wives, children and slaves all arrived in what was thought to be the most exciting city in the world. Some went shopping for exquisite silver, fashionable furniture and the latest books; others traded their goods and engaged in political arguments in noisy coffee houses. A sojourn in London was part of the education of the sons (and sometimes daughters) of wealthy colonial families because, as one contemporary observed, “more is learnt of mankind here in a month than can be in a year in any other part of the world.”

Julie Flavell’s “When London Was Capital of America” illuminates this fascinating chapter of London’s — and North America’s — past, showing how the metropolis functioned as a magnet for colonists from across the Atlantic (including the West Indies) who sought accomplishment, opportunity and commerce. An American-born scholar who is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Flavell has unearthed a host of stories that bring alive a previously neglected aspect of the colonial experience. . . .

The full review is available here»

Claremont Garden Lecture

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on August 5, 2010

Claremont Garden Lecture by Timothy Mowl
Claremont House, Esher (just outside of London), 5 September 2010

Timothy Mowl at Iford Manor (Photo by Jason Ingram)

Claremont Fan Court School is pleased to announce the inauguration of its Claremont Garden Lecture Series beginning with the opening lecture on Sunday afternoon, 5 September, in the School’s Mansion. Timothy Mowl, author and Professor of Architecture and Designed Landscapes at the University of Bristol, has accepted the invitation to deliver the opening address. This annual lecture series will provide access to the school’s portion of Claremont with Brown’s picturesque and sweeping park and to provide an historical context for this viewing through Prof. Mowl’s lecture. The Claremont Garden History Lecture series is being established as a forum for the discussion and promoting of garden history scholarship. Its goals include the presentation of the latest in academic research as well as the sharing of the private portion of the park and garden with the general public. The long term goal is to increase the public’s appreciation of designed landscapes and to better understand their original cultural context. The Open Day will start at 1 p.m. with the grounds and mansion open to the public. At 4:30 p.m. Prof. Mowl will present the inaugural lecture, followed by a question and answer session and book signing. Admission will be 10.00 GBP which includes access to the grounds,mansion and lecture.

Professor Timothy Mowl is a popular and prolific author and speaker, well known to both garden history scholars and the public. His ongoing project, Historic Gardens of England, supported by grants from the Leverhulme Trust, is modeled after Sir Nicolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England. Upon completion, the nationwide project will present historic landscapes and gardens in separate texts, county by county. Ten books have been published to date. Prof. Mowl is an engaging speaker with a long-standing interest in the cultural context of designed landscapes – the people who designed and lived in what are now considered historic buildings and gardens.

Claremont Fan Court School is situated on grounds originally purchased by Sir John Vanbrugh for his own house and then developed by him for Thomas Pelham-Holles, the Duke of Newcastle. The Duke of Newcastle used Claremont as one of his principle residences from 1769 to 1774. He expanded the extent of the park and developed it extensively with Charles Bridgeman and William Kent. It was subsequently reshaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown for Clive of India. During the 19th century, Claremont was the home of Princess Charlotte, Prince Leopold and Princess Victoria before she became Queen. Claremont remained a royal residence during most of the 19th century as a favorite of Queen Victoria’s. A portion of the original garden has been open to the public and owned by the National Trust since 1949, but the portion owned by the school has only occasionally been open to the public. Having a Grade 1 listed landscape that exhibits the successive work of Vanbrugh, Bridgeman, Kent and Brown is a resource that students of garden history, cultural geography and, in Claremont’s case, British royal history will find endlessly fascinating and informative.