Online Series | Georgian Gardens and Landscapes

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on February 17, 2021

From The Georgian Group:

Georgian Gardens and Landscapes Series
Online, The Georgian Group, Tuesdays in March and April 2021, 6.30pm (GMT)

The Georgian Group presents seven talks this spring in connection with its series Georgian Gardens and Landscapes. Presentations take place on Tuesday evenings, starting at 6.30pm. Each talk is £3 for members and £5 for non-members. Joining details will be sent to attendees the day before. Talks will be recorded and made available to those who have purchased a ticket for a limited time period after the event takes place.

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2 March 2021
Fiona Davison — Hidden Horticulturists

This talk will tell the untold story of the men who shaped Britain’s gardens, with help from a recently unearthed book of handwritten notes by young gardeners in support of their applications to be received into the Horticultural Society’s training scheme at their Chiswick Garden in the 1820s. Some of these men went on to work on Britain’s finest country estates, while others ended up tending more modest gardens or found themselves in exotic locations around the glove. Nevertheless, these previously hidden figures played a central role in the history of British horticulture and helped to shape the way we garden today.

Fiona Davison is Head of Libraries and Exhibitions at the Royal Horticultural Society. Her book, The Hidden Horticulturists: The Untold Story of the Men who Shaped Britain’s Gardens, was published in 2019.

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9 March 2021
Emily Parker — Marble Hill: A Garden of Grottos and Groves

Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II and later Countess of Suffolk, created Marble Hill house in the 1720s as a retreat from court life and as a place to entertain her elite circle of influential cultural, intellectual and political friends. This was a time of significant change in garden designs and Howard’s friendship with Alexander Pope, Lord Bathurst, Lord Peterborough and Lord Ilay, meant that her garden at Marble Hill was influenced by some of the most fashionable garden enthusiasts of the time. This talk will explore how the garden was created and who might have been involved in its design.

Emily Parker is a Landscape Advisor at English Heritage. She specialises in garden history and designed landscape conservation. Emily’s primary research interests are garden design in the eighteenth century, including the role of Alexander Pope, ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton. Emily has also researched and written interpretation content for many English Heritage sites including Eltham Palace, Kirby Hall, Mount Grace Priory and Wrest Park. She has also produced Conservation Management Plans for English Heritage gardens including Belsay Hall, Marble Hill and Walmer Castle.

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16 March 2021
George Carter and Caroline Knight — William Kent: Garden Designer, Architect, Interior Designer

William Kent (1685-1748) was one of those all-round designers, like Bernini, who could turn his hand to anything—architecture, interior design, painting, garden design, even book illustration. The first half of the eighteenth century was a period when garden design in Britain was in a state of flux. Kent proved to have a crucial role in adapting an evolving naturalistic style to his own unique vision, and was praised by Horace Walpole in On Modern Gardening. According to Christopher Hussey, he provided exactly what the Early Georgians looked for in the new gardening: “elegant variation, evocation of an ideal past, and the visual embodiment of a philosophical idea.” This talk looks at some of Kent’s best work including Rousham, Esher, and Stowe and evaluates him in relation to his contemporaries, Charles Bridgeman, Stephen Switzer, and Robert Castell.

George Carter is a garden historian and designer who specialises in restoring and recreating historic gardens, particularly of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He has written several books on garden design and his work has appeared in numerous books and magazines. Caroline Knight is an architectural historian specialising in British Architecture of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. She is an independent lecturer at the V&A Museum and for the Arts Society and the author of London’s Country Houses.

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23 March 2021
Penelope Corfield — Vauxhall, Sex, and Entertainment: The Invention of the Urban Pleasure Garden

This lecture will analyse the social dynamics of London’s most popular and celebrated Pleasure Garden in Vauxhall, which flourished between 1732 and its final closure in 1859. It pioneered the commercialisation of mass entertainment and the eroticisation of the leisure industry. In other words, it blended timeless human interests in sex and good company with the allure of celebrity culture plus the provision of a great range of leisure services in an organised and inclusive style. No wonder that countless similar urban Gardens across Britain, in Paris and, eventually, in cities around the world, were named after Vauxhall.

Penelope J. Corfield is an expert on Georgian urban, social and cultural history; and is currently researching the dynamics of inter-personal greetings in the long eighteenth century. She is Professor Emeritus at Royal Holloway, London University; Research Fellow at Newcastle University; and President of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

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30 March 2021
Bettina Harden — Welsh Gardens and the Grand Tour

While working on her book The Most Glorious Prospect: Garden Visiting in Wales 1639–1900 (2017), Bettina Harden found that the experience of the Grand Tour to Italy ran as a leitmotif through the development of landscaped parks and gardens across Wales. Carrying on from the book, she has examined the links between the Grand Tour and its effect on the Welsh patrons and owners who, on their return from the Continent, set about bringing something of what they had seen abroad to their home surroundings. The result is a lecture exploring the intricacies of the Grand Tour, its demands and discoveries, its shopping and scholarship, focused on Welshmen who had travelled to Rome in the eighteenth century: Sirs Watkin Williams-Wynne, father and son, 3rd and 4th Baronets of Wynnstay; Thomas Mansel, 2nd Lord Mansel, and Thomas and Christopher Mansel-Talbot of Margam; Thomas Bulkeley, 7th Viscount Bulkeley of Baron Hill; Colonel John Campbell of Stackpole Court. The lecture aims to link these men, their Grand Tour, their purchases and Italian dreams of landscape beauty together to demonstrate how ‘gardening and refined connoisseurship were the obsession of the age.’

Bettina Harden is a lecturer and writer on historic gardens. She was formerly Chairman of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and was Founder Chairman of the Gateway Gardens Trust.

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6 April 2021
Rory Fraser — Follies: An Architectural Journey

Follies were an important feature of English landscape gardens in the long eighteenth century. They could take a multitude of forms, from lavish banqueting houses to temples to lost loves, while their designers read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the greatest figures in Georgian architecture and landscape design—Wren, Vanbrugh, Kent, ‘Capability’ Brown, and Repton. In this talk, Rory Fraser will take us on an illustrated journey across England as he unearths the stories behind these often-overlooked architectural gems. Fraser’s philosophy is that follies, though often marginalised, serve as focal points for architecture, landscape, and literature. As such, they create a series of portals through which to understand the periods in which they were built, providing an alternative lens through which to track and celebrate the English character, culture, and love of individualism.

Rory Fraser was brought up between Rutland and Inverness. He worked for English Heritage and learnt Art History in Venice and Florence, before studying English at Oxford University where he specialised in landscape poetry and architecture, and wrote comedy for the Oxford Review. On graduating, he worked for John Simpson Architects in Bloomsbury. He is currently at Cambridge University, where he is doing an MPhil in Architectural History under Frank Salmon. His book, Follies: An Architectural Journey, was published in November 2020.

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13 April 2021
Kim Wilkie — The English Landscape Revolution

The eighteenth-century English Landscape Movement pioneered a radical new approach to sculpting and farming the land which gives great inspiration for the issues we face today. Landscape architect Kim Wilkie will trace this development through looking at some of the projects he has worked on, including the great landscapes of Boughton (for which he won a Georgian Group award in 2011 for Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape) and Heveningham, as well as some more humble manor houses.

Kim Wilkie is a renowned landscape architect. After decades of running his own practice, Kim now works as a strategic and conceptual landscape consultant. He collaborates with architects and landscape architects around the world.

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