Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden from the Archives of Country Life
cloth, 207 pp., $45.00
The life of Gertrude Jekyll (1843–1942) and the history of a popular landscape movement at the turn of the twentieth century are the subjects of this intriguing book by Judith Tankard, a frequent writer on landscape history subjects. An artist, craftswoman, and advocate of the Arts and Craft Movement, Jekyll turned her talents to the design of gardens reportedly when her eyesight declined. She put forth her ideas in articles in popular horticulture books and magazines. As Jekyll’s garden-making theories became more appreciated, she teamed up with some of the most prominent architects to produce new garden designs to ornament old houses. Tankard relates “many of these manor house gardens were featured in Country Life articles … .” Significant sites are recalled in photographs from magazine records. A remarkable number of these documents are in color, so that contemporary readers can gain greater insight into Jekyll’s artistic expertise. Even though Jekyll is the central subject in this account, Tankard mentions that behind-scenes is the proprietor of Country Life, Edward Hudson, an arbiter of gardening taste and admirer of Jekyll’s writings and work.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden
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