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The Hermit in the Garden By Gordon Campbell (Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester)

The Hermit in the Garden by Gordon Campbell (Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester)

Condition - Very Good
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The curious and intriguing tale of the garden hermit - from imperial Rome to the ornamental gnome, via the often sumptuous landscaped gardens of Georgian England.

The Hermit in the Garden Summary

The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome by Gordon Campbell (Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester)

Tracing its distant origins to the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian in the second century AD, the eccentric phenomenon of the ornamental hermit enjoyed its heyday in the England of the eighteenth century It was at this time that it became highly fashionable for owners of country estates to commission architectural follies for their landscape gardens. These follies often included hermitages, many of which still survive, often in a ruined state. Landowners peopled their hermitages either with imaginary hermits or with real hermits - in some cases the landowner even became his own hermit. Those who took employment as garden hermits were typically required to refrain from cutting their hair or washing, and some were dressed as druids. Unlike the hermits of the Middle Ages, these were wholly secular hermits, products of the eighteenth century fondness for 'pleasing melancholy'. Although the fashion for them had fizzled out by the end of the eighteenth century, they had left their indelible mark on both the literature as well as the gardens of the period. And, as Gordon Campbell shows, they live on in the art, literature, and drama of our own day - as well as in the figure of the modern-day garden gnome. This engaging and generously illustrated book takes the reader on a journey that is at once illuminating and whimsical, both through the history of the ornamental hermit and also around the sites of many of the surviving hermitages themselves, which remain scattered throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. And for the real enthusiast, there is even a comprehensive checklist, enabling avid hermitage-hunters to locate their prey.

The Hermit in the Garden Reviews

Garden hermits have always been a reproach to luxury and a fascination for voyeurs. They are back in the news because their history has just been set out brilliantly by the distinguished historian, Gordon Campbell. * Robin Lane Fox, Financial Times *
This compelling book is meticulously researched and well written, and superbly produced with excellent photographs and illustrations. * Garden Design Journal *
Gordon Campbell is extremely knowledgeable on garden history and for the hermitage-bibber his book will be a valuable guide. * The Oldie *
[A] gripping detective story, wonderfully written and illustrated, with an astonishing conclusion. Unmissable. * The Tablet *
[A] succinct and fascinating history ... Although scholarly, it is written in a relaxed, non-academic style and is enlivened by a nicely dry humour. * Peter Parker, The Spectator *
[A] rollicking new history...a book for the enrichment of all our lives. * The Daily Telegraph *
The delicious subtitle of this fine little study - From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome - catches its tone perfectly. Gordon Campbell treats the topic with the seriousness and attention to detail one expects of a scholar, but he never falls into the academic's trap of assuming his readers are would-be hermit scholars. * Country Life *
[An] engaging study of one of the oddest fads in garden design. * Charles Elliott, Literary Review *
[An] intriguing book. * The Lady *

About Gordon Campbell (Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester)

Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester. He is the author of the best-selling Bible: The Story of the King James Bible and of many other books on literature, art, history, and biography. A fellow of the British Academy and a former chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies, in 2012 he was awarded the Longman - History Today Trustees Award for a lifetime contribution to History. In this book his interests in cultural history, architectural history, and designed landscapes converge in a pioneering study of the phenomenon of the English ornamental hermit and his hermitage.

Table of Contents

Introduction ; 1. Origins and Antecedents ; 2. The Idea of the Hermit ; 3. The Hermits ; 4. The Hermitage in Georgian England ; 5. The Celtic lands and the Continent ; 6. The Afterlife of the Hermit: from gnomes to Arcadia ; Appendix: a Catalogue of Hermitages ; Works Consulted ; Index

Additional information

The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome by Gordon Campbell (Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester)
Used - Very Good
Oxford University Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - The Hermit in the Garden