"This is a major work and, I think, Hunt's best. . . . Once picked up, the book cannot be put down, for it is an exciting exegesis of the continuing Italian influence upon English garden art."—Country LifeGarden and Grove is a pioneering study of the English fascination with Italian Renaissance gardens. John Dixon Hunt studies reactions of English visitors in their journals and travel books to the exciting world of Italian gardens: its links with classical villas, with Virgil and farming, with Ovid and metamorphosis, its association with theater, its variety, its staged debates between art and nature. Then he looks at what English visitors made of these Italian garden experiences upon their return home and at how they created Italianate gardens on their estates, on their stages, and in their poems.
With a wealth of literary and visual materials previously untapped, Hunt provides a new history of an intriguing and vital phase of English garden history. Not only does he suggest the centrality of the garden as a focus for many social, aesthetic, political, and philosophical ideas but he argues that the so-called English landscape garden before "Capability" Brown, in the late eighteenth century, owed much to a long and continuing emulation of Italian Renaissance models.
John Dixon Hunt is the Emeritus Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape in the Department of Landscape Architecture, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the editor of the journal Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes and was previously the inaugural editor of Word & Image. His publications include The Genius of the Place, The Figure in the Landscape, William Kent, Gardens and the Picturesque, and A World of Gardens.