New Book | Chiswick House Gardens

Posted in books by Editor on March 12, 2022

From Liverpool UP:

David Jacques, Chiswick House Gardens: 300 Years of Creation and Re-creation (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2022), 248 pages, ISBN: 978-1800856219, £40.

The grounds at Chiswick House are amongst the most iconic of all the historic gardens of Europe. In the 1720s they reflected Lord Burlington’s innovative ideas on Palladianism and antique gardens, whilst the area transformed by William Kent to give a rustic appearance in the early 1730s has been recognised as one of, or perhaps the, birthplace of the landscape garden. The grounds were periodically brought to the forefront of taste, reaching another high point as the venue for spectacular garden parties under the 6th Duke of Devonshire. As a garden of many periods it has given rise to passionate national debates since World War II on the principles of restoration, and as a public park it has been an important project assisted by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Its renewed high state of keeping and its tranquil beauty belies its ‘deep’ history of intellectual debate, social tensions and practical difficulties.

The book concentrates on the four main periods when Chiswick gardens were in the national spotlight, two when being in the forefront of taste and two concerning the restorations, the first being in the 1950s when the whole question of garden restoration was entirely new. The second restoration, on and off since 1988 intersects with the development of a philosophical stance and national policy on the restoration of parks and gardens. There is much of interest for art and architectural historians, garden historians, social historians and those local and international visitors who enjoy the finest public park in West London.

David Jacques is an independent scholar and part-time lecturer at the Institute for Historical Research.


Image Credits
About the Book

1  ‘His Lordship’s Fine Genius’
2  ‘A Picture of Watteau’
3  English Palladianism
4  The Public Park Initiative

Appendix A: The Owners of Chiswick House Gardens
Appendix B: The Head Gardeners at Chiswick House
Appendix C: Chronology


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