Though the earliest English gardens were planted by Roman conquerors in the 1st century AD, the English garden as we know it today is a designed landscape style that was first developed in early 18th century England as part of the setting surrounding a grand English country house. So successful was this English innovation that it quickly spread throughout Europe, becoming the dominant gardening style, replacing the formalized, symmetrical French style of gardening—itself based on Italian Renaissance examples.
Though indebted to the earlier fashions that had reigned supreme for centuries, the newly-developed and uniquely English garden was a stylistic breakthrough, the likes of which had never before been seen in Europe. Often called “educated nature” by its proponents, this innovative English garden style offered an idealized view of nature influenced by the landscape paintings of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin. With artificially-made lakes, planted groves of trees, mock Gothic ruins, and new classical temples and follies, one was meant to be transported to the world of an ancient, idealized past.
In this lavishly illustrated lecture noted historian Curt DiCamillo will discuss the development of the English landscape tradition and demonstrate why the English garden has often been called Britain’s single most important contribution to world culture.
About Curt DiCamillo
Curt is an American architectural historian and a recognized authority on the British country house. He has written, lectured, and taught in the U.S. and abroad on British history and leads scholarly tours that focus on the architectural and artistic heritage of Britain and its influence around the world. Since 1999 Curt has maintained an award-winning database on the web, The DiCamillo Companion to British & Irish Country Houses (TheDiCamillo.com), which seeks to document every English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish country house ever built, standing or demolished, together with a history of the families who lived in the houses, the architects who designed them, and the history of the houses’ collections and gardens.
In recognition of his work, Curt has been presented to the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and The Prince of Wales. He is a member of The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain and is an alumnus of both the Royal Collection Studies program and The Attingham Summer School for the Study of Historic Houses and Collections. In addition, Curt is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and a member of the Council of the American Museum in Britain.
Curt is the Curator for Special Collections at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, the largest genealogical society in the world. Previously, he served for nine years as Executive Director of The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, based in Boston, where he was responsible for raising over $7 million for the Trust (he currently holds the position of Executive Director Emeritus). Before that Curt worked for 13 years for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A native of the Philadelphia area, he grew up in Central Florida with his sister, the award-winning children’s book author Kate DiCamillo.