Friday, July 11, 2008

The Shedworker's Bookshelf - An English Arcadia

This marvellous book by Gervase Jackson-Stops, a former architectural adviser to the National Trust, focuses on the Trust's wide and varied collection of gardens and, of particular shedworking interest, garden buildings including follies, pavilions and greenhouses. 

Originally a catalogue to accompany an exhibition raising money to buy Stowe, it covers a lot of ground and makes some pertinent points about the risktaking architects could take with garden buildings compared to their larger projects (as the author says, the earliest Neo-classical buildings in England were in fact garden pavilions). Lots of lovely pictures of the big boys - Stowe, Stourhead, Wimpole, etc - but also of early shedlike atmospheres such as banqueting halls, hermitages and chinese pavilions around the country. 

Hard to pick a favourite but I think mine would be the design for a Gothick pavlilion at Plas Newydd on Anglesey by the marvellous Rex Whistler, sadly never actually built. Copies available via Abebooks from around £6. A fine addition to any shedlike bookshelf.

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