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Bourgeois and Aristocratic Cultural Encounters in Garden Art, 1550–1850

Michel Conan, editor

Dumbarton Oaks Colloquia on the History of Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture History, Garden and Landscape Studies

This book may be freely downloaded here.


Developments in garden art cannot be isolated from the social changes upon which they either depend or have some bearing.

Bourgeois and Aristocratic Cultural Encounters in Garden Art, 1550–1850 offers an unparalleled opportunity to discover how complex relationships between bourgeois and aristocrats have led to developments in garden art from the Renaissance into the Industrial Revolution, irrespective of stylistic differences. These essays show how garden creation has contributed to the blurring of social boundaries and to the ongoing redefinition of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. Also illustrated is the aggressive use of gardens by bourgeois in more-or-less successful attempts at subverting existing social hierarchies in renaissance Genoa and eighteenth-century Bristol, England; as well as the opposite, as demonstrated by the king of France, Louis XIV, who claimed to rule the arts, but imitated the curieux fleuristes, a group of amateurs from diverse strata of French society.

Essays in this volume explore this complex framework of relationships in diverse settings in Britain, France, Biedermeier Vienna, and renaissance Genoa. The volume confirms that gardens were objects of conspicuous consumption, but also challenges the theories of consumption set forth by Thorstein Veblen and Pierre Bourdieu, and explores the contributions of gardens to major cultural changes like the rise of public opinion, gender and family relationships, and capitalism.

Garden history, then, informs many of the debates of contemporary cultural history, ranging from rural management practices in early seventeenth-century France to the development of a sense of British pride at the expansive Vauxhall Gardens favored equally by the legendary Frederick, Prince of Wales, and by the teeming London masses. This volume amply demonstrates the varied and extensive contributions of garden creation to cultural exchange between 1550 and 1850.

Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture, 23

 

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