London: Bernard Quaritch, 1895.
First Edition. Hardcover. "The history of the Gardens of England follows step by step the history of the people..." Between these gilt garden-adorned covers lies an 1895 first edition of the first published account of English gardening history. This pioneering account was penned by the intrepid horticulturist and botanist and pioneering gardening historian Alicia Margaret Tyssen Amherst (1865–1941), made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1918, the only woman to receive the Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners (a London-based guild chartered in 1605), and the plant Hebe 'Alicia Amherst' as well as the plant species Kaempferia ceciliae N.E.Br. were named after her. One of seven daughters of William Tyssen-Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Hackney, Amherst was given her first garden plot by her mother at the age of ten, and her interest in history was likewise developed by way of her father's vast library. Amherst travelled far and wide in search of unusual plants for her own grounds as well as for Kew Gardens, and her expeditions led her to Mozambique, South Africa, Rhodesia, Ceylon, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. A History of Gardening in England was Amherst's first book and an overnight success, with the second edition (1896) contracted within a month of this scarcer first edition of 1895. Spanning from the Roman roots of gardening in England and the monastic gardens of the ninth through twelfth century through to the dawn of landscape gardening and the nineteenth century, exploring Tudor gardens, Elizabethan flower gardens and garden literature, kitchen gardening under Elizabeth and James I, gardening under William and Mary, and much more, with diligent footnotes, a fully annotated bibliography, and 65 monochrome illustrations throughout. Upon its publication, A History of Gardening in England became the authoritative work on the subject, ushering in the first rush of books about Euro-American gardening history, inspiring such works as Rose Standish Nichols' English Pleasure Gardens (1902) and Marie-Luise Gothein's A History of Garden Art (1913); it remains a valued resource to scholars to this day. This is an overall quite handsome and well-preserved first printing of this important book in the history of gardening by a pioneer in her field.
10" X 7 1/4". xvi, 398pp. Bound in full green cloth over boards, with thorned roses in gilt to upper board and spine, stamped above an orderly English garden with two industrious gardeners also in gilt to upper board, and lettered in gilt to both. Moderate wear to binding, with gilt to spine quite dimmed and faded, corners bumped and turned in, small tears to corners and spine ends, and slight lean to spine. Sumptuous dark green and blue floral endpapers. Paper over inner hinges is cracked and binder's glue-repaired; hinges remain strong and binding is firm and sound. Pages are clean and unmarked. Good. Item #7965