Paradise of Exiles: The Anglo-American Gardens of Florence

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9780711229563: Paradise of Exiles: The Anglo-American Gardens of Florence

The crumbling, abandoned villas above Florence proved irresistible to an eccentric colony of late 19th-century English and American expatriates. This entertaining book features 20 of these characters and the unusual gardens they created. They include bereaved philosopher Charles Strong, whose Rockefeller in-laws financed his villa retreat; crossdressing English essayist Violet Paget; beautiful Serbian Princess Jeanne Ghika, who lived in seclusion with her American companion Miss Blood; and eccentric English romance writer Ouida. These Anglo-Florentines injected new life into Tuscany's decrepit gardens, touring the countryside for inspiration and trawling old libraries for treatises and manuals. Some smothered their walls with scented climbers, replaced gravel terraces with emerald lawns, and stuffed box parterres with bright bedding plants and orchards with exotic shrubs. Gorgeous photography, archival images, literary references, and gossipy tidbits bring this irresistible intersection of bohemia and nature to life.

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About the Author:

KATIE CAMPBELL was a journalist and fiction writer before turning to garden history. She lectures widely, has taught on postgraduate and undergraduate courses at Birkbeck, Bristol and Buckingham Universities; she also writes for various publications and leads garden tours. Her most recent, book, Paradise of Exiles, explores the eccentric community of English and American expatriates in late nineteenth century Florence. Earlier garden books include Icons of Twentieth Century Landscape Design, and Policies and Pleasances, A Guide to Scotland's Gardens.

Review:

"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

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