Richard Woods (1715-1793)

February 2010
11 colour, 83 black and white illustrations
312 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
Garden and Landscape History
ISBN: 9781843835240
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

Richard Woods (1715-1793)

Master of the Pleasure Garden

Fiona Cowell

out of stock

First full biography of Richard Woods, the landscape designer, examining his work and restoring him to the attention he merits.
A contemporary of the famous landscape designer `Capability' Brown, Richard Woods has never received the recognition he deserves: in contrast to Brown, he emphasised the pleasure ground and kitchen garden, with a more pronounced use of flowers than was general among the landscape improvers of his time. He liked variety and incident in his plans and, where he was employed on a larger scale, the encroachment of the pleasure ground into the park created the Woodsian "pleasure park".
In this important work of detection and biography, Fiona Cowell analyses his designs, and explores his activities as a plantsman, a determined amateur architect and a farmer. In particular, she shows the difficulties he found as a Catholic living in penal times, examining the difficulties encountered by both Woods and his Catholic patrons, and placing the man and his work in their wider social and economic context. Unjustly neglected in the past, he is here given his rightful place among the creators of the English landscape style.

Table of Contents

Woods in Context
Improver, Farmer, Surveyor
Plants, Planting Schemes and Plant Supplies
Woods the Aspiring Architect
The Woods Landscape
Labour Demand, Supply and Organisation in the Eighteenth-Century Garden


A magisterial study. [includes] an in-depth analysis of Woods's techniques and a detailed gazetteer of his gardens. [...] The book is beautifully produced and a pleasure to handle. HISTORIC GARDENS REVIEW

This is an important study, as it presents the demise of both the eighteenth-century Arcadian Garden and also Capability Brown's ideal parkscapes. [...] Fiona Cowell's text is extremely scholarly, and the analytical narrative is accompanied by an informative gazetteer of all Woods' commissions. [A] ground-breaking study. LANDSCAPE HISTORY

This study uniquely places Woods in the social and economic constraints of the eighteenth century as a Catholic living in Protestant England. [...] This book will interest all who are interested in the development of the English landscape at a pivotal point in British history. CURRENT BOOKS ON GARDENING AND BOTANY

An excellent study. [...] Cowell's learned book is particularly informative about the nuts and bolts of landscape gardening in eighteenth-century England. TLS

Impeccably researched. Fiona Cowell has done a sterling job of rehabilitating [Woods] and his oeuvre. HISTORIC HOUSE

[This] excellent book does justice to one who has for too long been considered a mere imitator of his pre-eminent rival. The Boydell Press is also to be congratulated on this, the second book in its enterprising 'garden and landscape history' series, under the general editorship of Tom Williamson. COUNTRY LIFE

Also in Series