This latest title in the popular series of county-by-county guides to historic gardens deals with ‘Shakespeare’s County’. Stratford has achieved a tourist industry where no fewer than five gardens are connected with the playwright. Historic revivalism is apparent in several eighteenth-century landscapes laid out by the gentleman amateur Sanderson Miller around Edgehill. Miller either designed or advised at Radway Grange, Farnborough House, Upton House and Honington, with temples, graceful parkscapes and viewing terraces. Arbury Hall, the county’s most evocative country house, is another mid-eighteenth century essay in Gothick. The county is characterised by a deep sense of nostalgia. But modernism peeps briefly through the island flowerbeds in the Jerwood Sculpture Park at Ragley Hall, and amongst the grasses of the Sculpture Trail in the fields around Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. At Dorsington, Felix Dennis has created a garden peopled with figurative bronze statues of his personal heroes. Billie Holiday faces Stephen Hawking and Chuck Berry strums his guitar close to Rudyard Kipling, a monkey sitting pensively on his shoulder.
Other titles in the Redcliffe series: Cheshire, Somerset, Staffordshire.
296pp / softback, with flaps