Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Garden history research

Charlecote Park last summer (NT)

I've realised why garden history is the right way forward for me - it brings together all my eclectic interests (and qualifications): gardens and gardening (obviously), history, the visual (in terms of reading the garden and landscape as well as paintings and representations of gardens on film), archival research as well as social science and even management issues. 

Nuneham Park, Oxfordshire

I am working on several research areas of research at the moment and hopefully next week will start writing up one of them with a view to publication. However, there is a lot of archival material to make sense of and I still need to decide on the exact focus. The research started out exploring the role of the head gardener in the creation of a significant Edwardian garden at Nuneham Park, Oxfordshire. However, with the exception of very notable gardeners, most are hidden from history (see Musgrave's The Head Gardeners, 2007) for an excellent overview of this. Consequently, it has been difficult to find all the evidence I would have liked. I am confident though that my extensive research on The Harcourt Papers at the Bodleian, together with other archival and visual evidence will provide me with sufficient material to write up the role of all the personalities involved in this garden - Charles Munday, the head gardener, and the owners of the property, Viscount Harcourt and his wife May.

Nuneham Park