Discovering the landscape: treasures from the collections of the Landscape Institute

SketchbookThe Landscape Institute was founded in 1929 as the Institute of Landscape Architects. As the Royal Chartered institute for landscape architects, the institute works to improve the planning and design of the urban and rural landscape, accredit university courses and promote the professional development of landscape architects.
The Institute built up a collection of library books and archives relating to the practice of design and management with the purpose of creating a national landscape collection. The library was formally established in 1967. Acquisition of the archival collection began in the 1990s, as landscape architects died and their collections were bequeathed, donated, or actively collected by the Institute.
Access to the collections was initially for Institute members only, but over time researchers and the wider public have been using the collections in all manner of work. The MERL library and archive teams are working to make this large and varied collection freely available to the public once again.
The library contains books and journals on topics including landscape architecture, garden history and landscape and urban planning.
The archive contains a variety of material relating to the Institute's history and the collections of individual landscape architects and their practices, such as Geoffrey Jellicoe, Peter Shepheard, Sylvia Crowe and Brenda Colvin.
We hope you enjoy this display of treasures from the collections, including rare books and archives.

The exhibition will be on display at the Special Collections Service from 13 January until 1 April 2016, and then on display in the University Library from 6 April until 1 July 2016.

List of exhibits

  • Della agricoltvra di M. Giovanni Tatti Lvcchese libri cinqve... by Giovanni Tatti. Venice : 1561.
    First edition, profusely illustrated with over 400 woodcuts of garden plants, vegetables, tubers, fruits, gourds, mushrooms, grains, ferns, etc., as well as a few of pests such as rodents and insects. Giovanni Tatti, whose name appears in the title is, in fact, a pseudonym of Sansovino who here has produced a gardening handbook based on the writings of Pliny, Virgil, Columella, and others.

  • Stowe : a description of the magnificent house and gardens of the Right Honourable Richard Grenville Temple… embellished with a general plan of the gardens, and also a separate plan of each building, with perspective views of the same by B. Seeley. London : 1769.
    Stowe, in Buckinghamshire, was one of the most well-known and acclaimed gardens of the eighteenth century. Capability Brown was the head gardener at Stowe from 1741 to 1751.
    This edition includes fold out plans of the garden and house, alongside many pages of engraved plates made by Benton Seeley.

  • Floral world and garden guide edited by Shirley Hibberd. London: 1876.
    This 1876 edition of the periodical Floral world and garden guide contains 12 colour plates and is illustrated with wood engravings throughout.
    The volume contains a wide range of advisory essays for nineteenth century gardeners, for example 'Formation and arranging of a herbarium', 'Window gardening' and 'Choice flowers for Christmas'.

  • Children's gardens by Mrs. Evelyn Cecil (Alicia Amherst). London: Macmillan, 1902.
    Mrs Cecil (also known as Alicia Cecil or Alicia Amherst, 1865-1941) wrote about the history of gardens and gardening at the turn of the twentieth century.
    This edition features the publisher's original light green cloth binding with illustration.
    'The favourite toy may be broken, the wax doll may melt and lose her beauty, but the garden will never disappoint you.' (Foreword, p. 3).

  • Instruction pour les Jardins Fruitiers et Potagers… by Mr Jean de la Quintinye. Paris : 1697. [see image below]
    12 full-page engraved plates, one folding, with illustrations on planting, grafting and lopping trees, including their instruments, 8 fine engraved headpieces in text, with garden-views, and several woodcut illustrations and figures in text.
    Jean de la Quintinie worked as gardener to Louis XIV at Versailles.

  • The art & craft of garden making by Thomas H. Mawson. London: Batsford, 1901.
    Illustrated with perspective views drawn by Mr. C.E. Mallows, and others, and also with numerous plans, sections and details of gardens, and garden ornament, and further illustrated with chapter headings specially designed by Mr. D. Chamberlain.
    T.H. Mawson (1861-1933) was one of the most influential landscape and garden designers of his time. Rising from humble beginnings and having left school at twelve, he came to undertake major commissions in Britain, Europe and Canada. This was his first book.

  • The art and practice of landscape gardening by Henry Ernest Milner. London: 1890.
    With 10 etchings, 10 partly coloured plates of garden plans (2 double-page) and 2 plans for tree plantations. Original cloth, gilt titles, top edge gilt, untrimmed.
    Henry Ernest Milner (1845-1906) was a landscape gardener and the son of landscape architect Edward Milner (1819-1884). In 1890 Henry Milner published The art and practice of landscape gardening using examples from his father's work.

  • A descriptive account of the mansion and gardens of White-knights, a seat of His Grace the Duke of Marlborough by Barbara Hofland. London : 1819. [see image below]
    Illustrated with twenty-three engravings, from pictures taken on the spot by T.C. Hofland.
    Although we already hold copies of Hofland's Whiteknights - we are keeping this edition (from the LI) as it contains a large number of colour plates.

  • Selection of Shell Guides.
    The Shell Guides, published between 1934 and 1984, were designed to be light hearted but engaging guide books to the countryside and historical sites of Great Britain for the growing number of mid twentieth century car owners.
    Different regions were studied by different writers, including a host of well know names including John Piper (artist, 1903-1992), Paul Nash (artist and painter, 1889-1947 and Sir John Betjeman (poet, writer and broadcaster, 1906-1984) who edited the series.
    Shell Guides gifted to MERL by the LI will sit alongside our existing ones in our Printing Collection (part of our Special Collections) with Landscape Institute provenance recorded in the catalogue records.

  • English country houses by Vita Sackville-West. London : 1941.
    The Britain in Pictures series provides a fascinating insight into British social history of the WW2 period. These attractive, slim volumes were produced to be affordable and readable, with the ultimate aim of boosting morale and national pride by drawing attention to the elements of the national identity which made Britain Great. Over one hundred titles were published in the 1940s.
    This copy donated by the LI complements our existing Britain in Pictures Collection holdings.
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