New Book | The Hermit in the Garden

Posted in books by Editor on May 2, 2013

From Oxford UP:

Gordon Campbell, The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-0199696994, £17 / $30.

9780199696994_450Tracing its distant origins to the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian in the second century AD, the eccentric phenomenon of the ornamental hermit enjoyed its heyday in the England of the eighteenth century. It was at this time that it became highly fashionable for owners of country estates to commission architectural follies for their landscape gardens. These follies often included hermitages, many of which still survive, often in a ruined state.

Landowners peopled their hermitages either with imaginary hermits or with real hermits – in some cases the landowner even became his own hermit. Those who took employment as garden hermits were typically required to refrain from cutting their hair or washing, and some were dressed as druids. Unlike the hermits of the Middle Ages, these were wholly secular hermits, products of the eighteenth-century fondness for ‘pleasing melancholy’.

Although the fashion for them had fizzled out by the end of the eighteenth century, they had left their indelible mark on both the literature as well as the gardens of the period. And, as Gordon Campbell shows, they live on in the art, literature, and drama of our own day – as well as in the figure of the modern-day garden gnome.

This engaging and generously illustrated book takes the reader on a journey that is at once illuminating and whimsical, both through the history of the ornamental hermit and also around the sites of many of the surviving hermitages themselves, which remain scattered throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. And for the real enthusiast, there is even a comprehensive checklist, enabling avid hermitage-hunters to locate their prey.

Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester. He is the author of the best-selling Bible: The Story of the King James Bible and of many other books on literature, art, history, and biography. A fellow of the British Academy and a former chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies, in 2012 he was awarded the Longman – History Today Trustees Award for a lifetime contribution to History. In this book his interests in cultural history, architectural history, and designed landscapes converge in a pioneering study of the phenomenon of the English ornamental hermit and his hermitage.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊


1: Origins and Antecedents
2: The Idea of the Hermit
3: The Hermits
4: The Hermitage in Georgian England
5: The Celtic lands and the Continent
6: The Afterlife of the Hermit: from gnomes to Arcadia
Appendix: a Catalogue of Hermitages
Works Consulted

Anne-Marie Eze Appointed Associate Curator at the Gardner

Posted in museums by Editor on May 2, 2013

Press release from the Gardner Museum:

EzeThe Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum recently appointed Dr. Anne-Marie Eze as the Associate Curator of the Collection. Eze had been working as the Museum’s first Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow since 2010. She began her new position on April 1. “Over the last three years Anne-Marie has contributed significantly to research on the collection and programs and is a great asset to the Gardner,” said Anne Hawley, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “We are pleased to continue to benefit from her vast knowledge and hard work.”

During her time at the Museum, Eze has researched and raised the profile of the museum’s manuscripts and rare books collection through her exhibition Illuminating the Serenissima: Books of the Republic of Venice (2011), scholarly publications and public programs. Eze also assisted the Lia and William Poorvu Curator of the Collection Oliver Tostmann with the exhibition and catalogue Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America (2013), and his predecessor Alan Chong with the publication of Furnishing a Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Collection of Italian Furniture. “The Gardner Museum is a very exciting place to be right now, so I am delighted to continue working here in a new capacity,” said Eze.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Eze studied classics (B.A.), and library science (M.A.) with a concentration in manuscript studies and historical bibliography, at University College London. A year of her undergraduate degree
was spent at the University of Bologna, Italy, where she became fluent in Italian. From 2003-2006, Eze worked as an assistant curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and in 2010 completed a collaborative doctorate in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the department of Western Manuscripts of the British Library.

%d bloggers like this: