English Pleasure Gardens

When English Pleasure Gardens was first published a century ago, it was instantly acclaimed as a resource for gardeners, tourists, and history lovers alike. This new edition will introduce a new generation to the pageantry of Britain’s garden heritage and to the redoubtable Rose S. Nichols, who hailed from Boston’s Beacon Hill, was among our earliest professional garden designers, and was nationally recognized for her expertise with native plants and residential garden design. Her designs derived from English formal gardens, but her planting style was American in spirit. Her gardens have disappeared, but her legacy survives in her writings. Like its sequels, Italian Pleasure Gardens and Spanish and Portuguese Gardens, her first book was written to fill a need; in 1902 there were few garden guidebooks and Nichols, a consummate traveler, relied on friends’ recommendations to determine what was worth her time, and then spent decades visiting and describing the little known and inaccessible gardens of Europe.

Nichols brings to her subject a deep knowledge of garden history and an incisive critical eye that still resonates today. Beautifully illustrated with her own line drawings and photographs taken during her travels, this survey presents the history of British gardens with a grace and erudition no other book has ever achieved, covering England’s monastic gardens, the formal Tudor garden, Elizabethan flower gardens, as well as the influence of French, Dutch, and Italian traditions. Dedicated to her uncle, the American Renaissance sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, English Pleasure Gardens is as compelling reading today as it was one hundred years ago.

Rose Standish Nichols (1872–1960) was an American landscape architect from Boston, Massachusetts. Nichols worked for some 70 clients in the United States and abroad. Collaborators included David Adler, Howard Van Doren Shaw, and others. She also wrote articles about gardens for popular magazines such as House Beautiful and House & Garden, and published three books about European gardens.

Judith B. Tankard is a landscape historian, author, and preservation consultant. She received an M.A. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and taught at the Landscape Institute of Harvard University for over 20 years. In 2000, she was awarded a Gold Medal by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for her role in the advancement of historic New England gardens.
She is the author or co-author of nine illustrated books on landscape history, including her most recent publication,Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood. Her book, Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes was named an Honor Book for the 2010 Historic New England Book Prize. A Place of Beauty: The Artists and Gardens of the Cornish Colony won a Quill and Trowel Award from the Garden Writers Association in 2001 and The Gardens of Ellen Biddle Shipman was recipient of a 1998 book award from the American Horticultural Society. Her books have been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Hubbard Educational Foundation.
Judith’s articles and book reviews have been published in Antiques, Apollo, Arnoldia, Country Life, Horticulture, Hortus,Landscape Architecture, Old-House Interiors, Old-House JournalPacific Horticulture, and other publications, and for ten years she served as editor of the Journal of the New England Garden History Society. She recently retired as vice-president and a long-time board member of the Beatrix Farrand Society. In addition, she has prepared cultural landscape histories for the Garden Conservancy, Historic New England, and other organizations. A popular lecturer in the United States and Britain, Judith is a frequent speaker at symposia and conferences devoted to the preservation of historic landscapes, pioneer landscape designers, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and other topics relating to her research.
Judith gardens in the Boston area and on Martha’s Vineyard, but her passion is visiting other people’s gardens. She occasionally leads small groups to visit some of her favorite gardens in Britain.