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In Search of Earthly Paradise: An Exploration of Garden History in Places Both Far and Near

with Edward Martin

in The Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 30th June, 2012.

In Search of Earthly Paradise: an Exploration of Garden History in Places Both Far and Near.
A richly illustrated exploration of the myriad ways in which people have tried to realise their dreams of paradise through their gardens – a journey that will cover many continents but will also strongly feature the gardens of East Anglia. In the four sessions of the day I will be using archaeological, documentary and art evidence as well as actual existing gardens to explore these broad themes.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Gardens of the Ancient World and the Middle Ages - In this first session we will look at the origins of the concept of a ‘paradise’ and early manifestations of it in the Near East, India and the Mediterranean, before moving into northern Europe and Britain to see how gardens developed there in the Middle Ages.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 Gardens of the Renaissance - This session will look at the rise of gardening as an art form in 15th-century Italy and the spread of ideas of scale, symmetry and theatricality in garden designs across Europe, with an attendant rise in the social importance of the garden.  
  12.45 Lunch break (bring picnic or eat in NT restaurant)  
  14:00 Gardens of formality and power - The development of designed gardens as indicators of wealth, power and fashion in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the way the ideas trickled down the social scale.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Gardens of landscape - The ‘return to nature’ of the 18th century with ‘landscape’ gardens, with important later waves of enthusiasm for formality, classicism, new plants and modernism.  
  c.16:20 Close  

About Edward Martin

Edward Martin has worked as an archaeologist with Suffolk County Council for many years, specialising in studies. He co-edited An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (3rd edition 1999) and has written and lectured widely on the archaeology and history of gardens, buildings and the landscape. He is chairman of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History and a council member and past chairman of the Suffolk Gardens Trust.

Here is some feedback from Edward's previous Study Day on this theme. When asked 'what was best about the day? people said:

  • Edward Martin himself – his extensive knowledge – vast range yet also detailed information, his interesting delivery & ‘visuals’. Appetite whetted for more of him & this subject!
  • Excellent presentation
  • Enthusiasm and illustrations. Very knowledgeable
  • Edward and his illustrations
  • Interplay of national trends in gardening to local interpretations
  • Brilliant lecturing; well illustrated. Excellent aerial views and plans
  • Detailed exposition followed slides exactly
  • Wonderful subject
  • Brilliant lecture, well planned day
  • Great photographs, interesting history & background – especially Suffolk references. Thank You Edward

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Anthony, J., The Renaissance Garden in Britain (Shire 1991)Attlee, H., Italian Gardens. A Cultural History (Frances Lincoln 2006)
Bowe, P., Gardens of the Roman World (Frances Lincoln 2004)
Brown, J., The Pursuit of Paradise. A Social History of Gardens and Gardening (HarperCollins 1999)
Carroll, M., Earthly Paradises. Ancient Gardens in History and Archaeology (British Museum Press 2003)
Harvey, J., Medieval Gardens (Batsford 1981)
Henderson, P., The Tudor House and Garden (Yale University Press 2005)
Hobhouse, P., The History of Gardening (Dorling Kindersley 2002)
Jacques, D., Georgian Gardens (Batsford 1983)
Jennings, A., Roman Gardens (English Heritage 2006)
Khansari, M., Moghtader, M.R. & Yavari, M., The Persian Garden. Echoes of Paradise (Mage Publishers 2004)
Laird, M., The Formal Garden (Thames & Hudson 1992)
Landsberg, S., The Medieval Garden (British Museum Press 1995)
Migliorini, F. & Latini, L., Gardens from the Air (Frances Lincoln 2004)
Plumptre, G., The Garden Makers. The Great Tradition of Garden Design from 1600 to the Present Day (Pavilion Books 1993)
Strong, R., The Renaissance Garden in England (Thames & Hudson 1979)
Strong, R., The Artist and the Garden (Yale University Press 2000)
Taigel, A. & Williamson, T., Parks and Gardens (Batsford 1993)
Taylor, P., The Oxford Companion to the Garden (Oxford University Press 2006)
Thacker, C., The Genius of Gardening (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1994)
Turner, R., Capability Brown and the Eighteenth-Century English Landscape (Phillimore 1999)
Wilkinson, A., The Garden in Ancient Egypt (Rubicon Press 1998)
Williamson, T., Suffolk's Gardens and Parks. Designed Landscapes from the Tudors to the Victorians (Windgather Press 2000)
Woods, M., Visions of Arcadia. European Gardens from Renaissance to Rococo (Aurum Press Ltd 1996)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places. Study Days are 38 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition. Once you have reserved your place please send a cheque to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
tel : 01394 386498

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