Uvedale Price (1747-1829)

June 2015
10 colour, 31 black and white, 2 line illustrations
276 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
Garden and Landscape History
Boydell Press
BISAC ARC008000, BIO006000, HIS037030

Uvedale Price (1747-1829)

Decoding the Picturesque

Charles Watkins, Ben Cowell

The first biography of the 18th-century landscape gardener, Uvedale Price, showing the key interconnections between his roles as landowner, art collector, forester, landscaper, connoisseur and scholar.
Uvedale Price achieved most fame as the author of the influential Essay on the Picturesque of 1794 in which he argued that the work of the greatest landscape artists, such as Salvator Rosa, Rubens and Claude, should be used as models for the "improvement of real landscape". His attack on the smooth certainties of Capability Brown sparked off a public controversy, drawing in Richard Payne Knight and Humphry Repton, which became a cause célèbre.
This is the first biography of Uvedale Price, bringing out his contradictory and elusive character and revealing an astonishing cast of friends and acquaintances, including Gainsborough, Voltaire, William Wordsworth and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The book shows how he developed his ideas through practical experimentation on his own land and buildings and provides an understanding of the context of Price's practices and theories and the key interconnections between his roles as landowner, art collector, forester, landscaper, connoisseur and scholar.

Charles Watkins is Professor of Rural Geography, University of Nottingham; Ben Cowell is Regional Director - East of England, National Trust.

Table of Contents

'The greatest variety of prospects'
'Macarony of the Age'
'The improvement of real landscape'
'The Great Guns of Taste'
Picturesque Designs
Property and Landscape
'Mr Price the Picturesque'
'Distant paths of leafy secretness'


Definitive. Watkins and Cowell have done us, and Price, a great service. ENVIRONMENT AND HISTORY

A worthy and useful study. LANDSCAPE HISTORY

An important, impressive addition to the Garden and Landscape series. The authors do full justice to the work and long-lasting influence of Uvedale Price. NORTHERN HISTORY, L, no. 2, September 2013

Richly researched..its skill at bringing out of the picturesque shadows an intriguing and multi-faceted figure [is] commendable. HISTORIC GARDENS

Fascinating. AUSTENONLY, March 2013

This enjoyable biography is both pleasurable to read and a useful addition to our understanding of the period as a whole, seen through its gardens. JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY

A valuable addition to the scholarship on one of the more intriguing passages of British landscape history. COUNTRY LIFE
[A] meticulously researched and superbly written book. This biography is long overdue but at least the complex character of Price will now have the recognition he deserves. GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL

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