Book by Campbell Katie
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Campbell's first sentence and a number of later ones contain the word 'intriguing', used in its comparatively recent sense of 'fascinating'. If I seek for one word to describe this book, then that is it. Hers is a witty, charming, informative and well-written study. But, above all, it is an intriguing one. ( Spectator)
I heartily recommend the account of the dotty goings-on in the expat community round Florence. It's pretty much the same today. This is an inspiring book. ( World of Interiors)
Scholarly as well as wonderfully entertaining, this is an unmissable book. ( BBC Gardens Illustrated)
A compelling portrait of the gardens and lives of this eclectic group. ( Sunday Telegraph)
Exceptionally well illustrated in the publisher's usual large format. The fancy-dress poses of Anglo-Florentine high society are especially telling, and George Elgood's fine Edwardian watercolours of the gardens evoke nostalgia for a golden age. ( Times Literary Supplement)
An entertaining book and a good introduction to a fascinating world… Few writers introduce us to this lively and eccentric community with such gusto. ( Mediterranean Garden)
Frances Lincoln is to be congratulated for adding this book to its list of inexpensive, fluently written and generously illustrated garden history books. ( Art Newspaper)
Underlines how much this Anglo-American community did to re-animate and re-interpret many of Italy's historic gardens. ( Irish Times)
The stories of the eccentric owners are entwined with those of their gardens in a vivid and wide-ranging account. ( Irish Garden)
It has wonderful photos and a very good historical text with an apt, witty touch about gardens of great expatriates in and around Florence in the late 19th century… An ideal present for anyone who has bolted to make a garden and a little stir abroad. ( Financial Times)
The topic of this book may sound like a niche preoccupation, but in the hands of a perceptive and amusing author it proves irresistible… Like its subject matter, this book is a delightful confection. ( Daily Telegraph)
Escapism is what gardeners want in the short, dark days of winter and Paradise of Exiles offers the perfect getaway… Scholarly as well as wonderfully entertaining, this is an unmissable book. ( Independent)
Christmas is luxury reading time. Katie Campbell's Paradise of Exiles is exactly that, with wonderful plates and text that makes me want to see the gardens for myself. ( Scotsman)
A particularly welcome fireside treat. ( Limited Edition, South Worcestershire & Cotswolds)
This is a highly readable book that will engage both the student and the admirer of the Italian garden alike, and shines a valuable spotlight on a little known era of the Italian garden. ( Garden Design Journal)
Altogether, a scrupulously researched, well-written and entertaining book. ( Garden)
Here's one for all you garden history enthusiasts… if you're looking for the story behind the gardens, a proper insight into their character and charm, then this book has all the details. ( Professional Gardener)
In the final years of the nineteenth century the crumbling villas abandoned on the hills above Florence proved irresistible to an eccentric colony of English and American expatriates.
After a brilliant introduction this entertaining book features some twenty of these characters, among them Bernard Berenson at I Tatti; the 'cad' Sir Arthur Acton and his fabulously wealthy wife at La Pietra; the bereaved philosopher Charles Strong whose Rockefeller in-laws financed his villa retreat; the cross-dressing English essayist Violet Paget - known to the world as Vernon Lee; the beautiful Serbian Princess Jeanne Ghika who lived in seclusion with her American companion Miss Blood; the eccentric English romance writer known as Ouida; the much-married American heiress Mabel Dodge Luhan and the misanthropic aristocrat Sir Gerge Sitwell.
Art and history formed the main interests of the community with horticulture a close second. The Anglo-Florentines injected new life into Tuscany's decrepit gardens, touring the countryside for inspiration and trawling old libraries for treatises and manuals. Some preferred an anglicised version and smothered their walls with scented climbers, replaced gravel terraces with emerald lawns and stuffed box parterres with bright bedding plants and their orchards with exotic shrubs.
Literary reference abounds throughout this book with Henry James leading the way, but it is the old guide books - Elgood's Italian Gardens, Latham's The Gardens of Italy and books like Georgina Graham's My Tuscan Villa which provide so much evocative material.
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