Chinoiserie, an early European interest in the Chinese arts, blossomed in Georgian Britain. It encompassed everything from furniture design, textiles and ceramics to gardening and garden buildings. Soon every landscape park in the country had a pagoda or teahouse, or a Chinese bridge, barge or gaudily painted ‘umbrella’ under which to take tea, that most fashionable of imported luxuries. This course examines the politics and expanding trade routes of eighteenth-century Britain, as well as the craze for informal gardening ‘without line or level’, which had been gaining traction since William Temple’s 1685 appraisal of East Asian Garden asymmetry. It reveals what the landscape style owes to Asia’s gardens, and ultimately asks the question, just how English was the English landscape garden after all?
Laura Mayer is an independent lecturer and researcher. She holds an MA in Garden History and a PhD on eighteenth-century architecture and landscape design. Laura has worked on conservation projects for the National Trust, taught on academic courses and led groups around some of England’s most famous estates, including Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey. She has also published extensively, most notably on Capability Brown and Humphry Repton.
Bookings for this course will close 8 February
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