John Dixon Hunt
82 b/w illustrations,
Little attention is paid in design schools to what happens to a garden after its initial design and installation, but the questions remain: What is it eventually used for, and how does the design change over time? It is with these questions that The Afterlife of Gardens is concerned.
Most historical and critical discussions of gardens focus on their design.
Gardens, contends John Dixon Hunt, are experienced by a succession of visitors at different times and often from different cultures. He says this experience, though determined by the original design and its subsequent modifications, also augments the sites potentialities. This afterlife of gardens comes to enhance the original moment of creation. It is generally assumed the experience of gardens became a prime ingredient of late 18th-century landscapes, as picturesque literature highlighted how visitors responded to their surroundings. But there is considerable evidence for a much earlier interest in how experience came to constitute an essential aspect of a site, beyond the intentions of the original designer or patron.
In this ambitious new book, the author shows how the complete history of a garden must extend beyond the moment of its design and the aims of the designer to record its subsequent reception. He raises questions about the preservation of historical sites, and provides lessons for the contemporary designer, who may perhaps be more attentive to the life of a work after its design and implementation.
This book will interest all who have a professional interest in gardens, as well as the wide general audience for gardens and landscapes of past and present.
John Dixon Hunt is professor of the history and theory of landscape in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvanias School of Design. He is the author of many books, including Greater Perfections: The Practice of Garden Theory and Garden and Grove: The Italian Renaissance Garden in the English Imagination, 1600-1750, both available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
University of Pennsylvania Press
Originally published on November 18, 2004