The Wonderful World Of Art: Part Two: Post 1900s

On Tuesday, we explored the beautiful art books concerning artists of the period before the 1900s. This post continues our journey into the wonderful world of art through books about the artists of the Twentieth Century.

Even though the next four artists were born in the mid 1870s and 1880s, they came into their own over the turn of the century, a time of great excitement and hope for the future, when photography was in its infancy and Australia became a nation, achieving their peak fame in  the 1920s. They include: Australian printmaker, Margaret Preston (1875-1963); photographer, Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953), and painter, Elioth Gruner (1882-1939), both of whom were born in New Zealand, but grew up in Australia and  Australian artist, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884-1961).

Margaret Preston by Elizabeth Butel 1985/ 1995

Well-known for her still life paintings and woodcuts of Australian flora and fauna and one of Australia’s leading Modernists of the early 20th century, Margaret was the most prominent Australian woman artist of the 1920s and 1930s, during which time her designs were used in painting and printmaking, as well as interior decoration, fabric design and even floral arrangements. The cover shows her Self-Portrait 1930.BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (686)Studying in Munich and Paris, and travelling in Italy, Spain and Holland, between 1903 and 1919,  Margaret was heavily influenced by Japanese art and the Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements of the time. She also attended Roger Fry’s Omega workshops in decorative art in Britain during the First World War. Below is a photo of her, taken in 1930, by my next artist, Harold Cazneaux, titled: Margaret Preston in the Garden, from page 43 of this book.

BlogArtBooksReszd4017-07-30 13.37.02Her works display a love of asymmetry; pattern as a dominant element of design; simplified composition, where natural patterns are so closely observed that they can be broken down into discrete units, as seen in the photo below of The Brown Pot 1940 from page 57; a degree of primitivism; and a great appreciation and love of Australian flora and fauna, as well as the small things of life. BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.37.14 Her earlier works show an emotive and sensual use of colour, as seen in the photo below of her hand-coloured woodcut Anemones 1925, from page 32 of the book:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.36.31 but as she progressed, she adopted a more restricted colour range, with a major emphasis on blue and a graphic use of black and white, as shown by this photo of one of my favourite oils: Implement Blue 1927, from page 38:BlogArtBooksReszd3017-07-30 13.36.45This detailed book discusses her early life and the three major phases in her work: the periods from1875 to 1920; 1920 to 1930; and 1924 to 1963; accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography of all her works; newspaper and journal articles; and books and monographs, as well as a catalogue of all her oil paintings; prints (etchings; woodcuts; masonite cuts; screen prints; stencils; and monotypes); fabric designs; ceramics and wood blocks. Here is a photo of one of her works on the cover of the October 1926 issue of magazine, Woman’s World, from p 42:BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0027We feel very lucky to have one of her framed prints,  a hand-coloured woodcut, titled Christmas Bells 1925.BlogArtBooksReszd5017-07-30 13.40.18 For more information  on Margaret Preston, see: http://www.margaretpreston.info/ and https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?artist_id=preston-margaret.

The Cazneaux Women by Valerie Hill 2000

Another lovely book featuring the monochromatic works of early Australian photographer, Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) , with their beautiful women subjects , romantic compositions and a wonderful use of light and shade. The book cover features his photo of British artist and theatre designer, Doris Zinkeisen with Her Brushes 1929.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (683)

I have always loved black-and-white photographs for their focus on design and composition, line and structure (form and shape), pattern and texture, contrast and tonal variations and the play of light and shadow, without the distraction of colour. These elements are superbly illustrated in the dramatic work of contemporary German photographer, Maik Lipp: See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/maik-lipp_n_4019302.html.

While it was the only medium in Cazneaux’s day, when used today, it also lends a timeless or vintage aesthetic to the work, as can be seen in the work featured on this website: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/beautiful-black-and-white-photography/, although I still think the subject matter and treatment plays a big part of it too.  Compare the previous two links with  the work of Imogen Cunningham: https://www.imogencunningham.com and Endre Balogh at: http://www.endresphotos.com.

But back to Harold Cazneaux!

While Cazneaux also photographed historic cityscapes, and industrial and landscape aspects, this particular book is devoted to 36 plates of Cazneaux’s women – his wife Winifred and small daughters, Rainbow, Jean and Beryl, as well as stylish portraits of well-known women in the 1920s and 1930s including artist, Margaret Preston, writers Ethel Turner and Theo Proctor, performers, Dame Nellie Melba and Anna Pavlova; and a large number of Sydney social belles. I adore this photo: Bathing Baby 1909 from p 50:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.38.14The plates show the developments in camera art,  as well as women’s fashions and the changing role of women, from the formally posed wet plate images of the 1870s (and earlier albumen prints), through the Pictorial period to the start of Modernism, where Max Dupain and Olive Cotton (see later) made their mark. Here is another favourite photograph by Harold Cazneaux: The Sleeping Child 1914 from page 64.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.38.37We also learn about Harold’s life, his relationships with women and his artistic influences from his parents, Pierce and Emma, both early photographers; stepmother Christina, who nurtured his talent; his wife, Winifred, who trained at the first photographic studio, where he worked; John Kauffmann, who introduced Pictorialism to Australia, and the Sydney Camera Circle of the early 1920s. Harold’s photograph, Rainbow in the Cosmos 1916, from page 62, is delightful!

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His photograph Pergola Pattern 1931, from page 100 shows such a superb mastery of composition, pattern and contrast and the play of light and shadow!BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.39.30

The Cazneaux Collection, containing 272 exhibition prints; 200 working photographs and 4300 glass negatives, mainly from 1904 – 1940, as well as his personal papers and letters from 1903 – 1953, is held at the National Library of Australia: See: https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/harold-cazneaux-collection.

BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0023I loved the background of the these two photographs: Doris Zinkeisen: New Ideas Portrait with Leaf Background 1929 from page 91 (above); and A Study in Profile 1931 from p 104:BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0025There are also significant collections of his photographs at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and the Mitchell Library and Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. See: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?artist_id=cazneaux-harold.

The Art of Elioth Gruner: The Texture of Light by Deborah Clark 2014BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (689)

This cover features Elioth Gruner’s oil painting, titled Thunderstorm 1928.

Elioth Gruner (1882 – 1939 ) was also a master of light and shade, as seen in his very famous painting, displayed in the Art Gallery Of New South Wales: Spring Frost 1919, which introduced me to his work, seen in the poster below. The shafts of sunlight and the steam rising from the bellowing dairy cows can probably be better appreciated by viewing this link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/6925/.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.48.48We were also lucky enough to attend an exhibition of his work, Elioth Gruner: The Texture of Light, at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 2014, many of his landscapes painted en plein air from the Sydney to the South Coast of New South Wales, including Cooma and the Monaro; the Canberra region, Yass and the Murrumbidgee River valley and the Southern Highlands, all part of our new home! Is it any wonder that we brought the book based on the exhibition home with us!!BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0032There is even a painting of our old stamping grounds in Northern New South Wales with his painting Shelley Beach, Nambucca Heads 1933 (photo above from page 86), and Winter Afternoon, Bellingen, NSW 1937 , the latter held by our old home art gallery NERAM , which also owns his paintings: Beach Idyll 1934 and The Beach 1918, another personal favourite (seen in the photo below from page 21 of the book)!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.55.28I adore his landscapes depicting pastoral life and the rural homesteads of the period, like Manar, a large cattle and sheep property between Bungendore and Braidwood, seen here in his oil painting, Manar Landscape 1928, the first photo below from page 52 of the book and Autumn, Manar 1939, 2nd photo below, from page 53.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0028He was obviously very popular in his day, enjoying the support of both conservative and progressive elements of the Sydney art scene, as well as winning the Wynne Prize for landscape painting seven times between 1916 and 1937.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0031 It was wonderful to see his paintings so closeup, to examine and admire his techniques for reproducing light and shadows, using short, choppy brush strokes and different tones of greens, as exemplified by Morning Light 1916, his first painting to win this award, shown in the photo above from page 26. Spring Frost 1919 was his second Wynne Prize.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.06.21Hilda Rix Nicholas: The Man For the Job by the Bendigo Art Gallery 2010

We were also very fortunate to see an exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2010 of the works of Australian artist, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884-1961), who also came to fame in the 1920s, the second Australian artist after Rupert Bunny (who I discussed in the first part of this post last Tuesday) and the first woman to have a solo exhibition in Paris in 1925.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (690)

She too painted many lovely paintings of life in rural Australia, especially her family property, run by her second husband, Edgar Wright, at Knockalong near Delegate, on the Southern Monaro. I love this painting of His Land 1922-1923 from page 30.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.34.14 Other favourites are:  In the Bush 1927, from page 41; BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.35.04 Bringing in the Sheep 1936, held by our local art gallery, Bega Valley Regional Gallery, shown on page 54 of the book;

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.35.43 and The Homestead of Tooraloo 1945 from page 60.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.36.05The book also chronicles her brilliant early career, from 1907 to 1918, in France, Morocco and Italy, marred by the desperate loss of her travel companions, her sister and mother, from illness and the untimely death of her new husband of six weeks on the Western Front in the First World War. For more about Hilda Rix Nicholas, see: http://knockalong.com/?page_id=664.

No discussion of the art world of the 1920s is complete without reference to the Bloomsbury Group, the subject of the next two books:

Charleston: A Bloomsbury House & Garden by Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson 1997

The Bloomsbury Group was a very famous name in the British art world, and while most of its members were born in the 1880s, their main flowering came during the 1920s after their move to Charleston in 1916 to escape the horrors of the First World War.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (696)

This lovely book is an ode to Charleston and all its inhabitants: Vanessa Bell and her husband, Clive (temporarily),  their sons Julian and Quentin, the co-author of this book; Vanessa’s lovers, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, to whom she bore a daughter, Angelica; David Garnett, Duncan’s homosexual lover, and Clive’s lover, Mary Hutchinson, as well as other members of the Bloomsbury Group: Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, and husband, Leonard, who lived nearby; Lytton Strachey; Desmond MacCarthy; EM Forster and Maynard Keynes, not to mention chief cook and housekeeper, Grace Higgins.

Starting with a map of the garden and ground plans of each storey of the house and an  introduction with its highly appropriate title: A Vanished World, a chapter devoted to Charleston’s golden age from 1925 to 1937, which was shattered by the death of Vanessa’s son, Julian in the Spanish Civil War, just before the Second World War.

Through the following chapters featuring each room : Clive Bell’s study and bedroom; Vanessa’s bedroom; the spare bedroom; and those of Maynard Keynes and Duncan Grant; the green bathroom; the dining room and kitchen; the library; the studios; the garden room and finally the beautiful garden, Angelica’s ‘earthly paradise’, including the productive Walled Garden and numerous old photographs, we get to know all about their unconventional lives and their art.

It is backed up by the following small paperback:

Charleston: Past and Present  by Quentin Bell, Angelica Garnett, Henrietta Garnet and Richard Shone 1987/ 1993

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This official guide to Charleston also describes the contents of each room, and includes essays on Life at Charleston, including personal letters and memoirs, like the childhood memories of the garden, written by Quentin Bell; and the memoirs of Vanessa’s daughter Angelica and her daughter Henrietta, who recalls her grandmother, ‘Nessa’. It is possible to still visit Charleston. See: https://www.charleston.org.uk/ for details of opening times.

1930 to 1960s

The Boyds by Brenda Niall 2002/ 2007

The Boyd family is a very famous artistic dynasty in Australia, founded by Emma Minnie à Beckett (1858-1936) and her husband Arthur Merric Boyd (1862-1940), whose children also pursued art: William Merric (1888-1959) became a potter; Theodore Penleigh (1890-1923); and Helen à Beckett (1903-1999) were both painters and son, Martin à Beckett (1893-1972) became a writer.

William married a painter, Doris Gough, and raised five talented artists: a potter, Lucy (1916 -2009); sculptor, Guy (1923-1988); and three painters: Arthur (1920-1999); David (1924-2011); and Mary (1926-2017).

They in turn have raised artists like Lucy’s potter son, Robert; Guy’s sculptor daughters, Lenore, Sally and Charlotte; Arthur’s children, Polly, Jamie and Lucy; David’s daughters, Amanda, Lucinda and Cassandra; and Mary’s children by her first husband, John Perceval: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice Perceval, as well as musicians and writers.

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In her fascinating book, Brenda Niall traces the family biography from 1840s Melbourne with convict heiress Emma Mills, who married William, the son of Victoria’s first Chief Justice; her daughter, Emma Minnie, and son-in-law, Arthur Merric Boyd; their children, who grew up at Open Country, Murrumbeena, and  Boyd grand-children, all of whom were famous, especially Arthur.

See the Table of Contents of this book at: https://web.archive.org/web/20060618070355/http://www.mup.unimelb.edu.au/catalogue/0-522-84871-0.html.

This book is so well-written and hard to put down and features many photos of the family and their homes, as well as colour-plates of their artworks!

Open Country, now obliterated by Melbourne suburbia, was the meeting place for many prominent Australian artists in the 1940s and 1950s. See : http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/boyd-familys-murrumbeena-gatherings-a-fount-of-inspiration-for-australian-artists-20141124-11ss2n.html.

Another famous Boyd landmark , which can still be visited, is Arthur Boyd’s property at Bundanon, on the Shoalhaven River, near Nowra, which he bought in 1979 and donated to the Australian people in 1993 and which we visited years ago. It is well worth making the effort to visit, even though opening times are limited and there is a long narrow drive in. It’s wonderful to see his house and studios and the landscape, which inspired him.

It  also includes a huge art collection of over 3 800 items, with more than 1 300 works by Arthur Boyd, over 1 200 works from five generations of the Boyd family dynasty and a number of works by Arthur Boyd’s contemporaries, such as Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman, from which regular exhibitions are held,  as well as hosting an artist-in-residence program each year. See: https://bundanon.com.au/ for visiting times.

Olive Cotton by Helen Ennis and the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2000

I love Olive Cotton’s work! Olive Cotton (1911-2003) was one of Australia’s leading twentieth century photographers, whose career spanned six decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. The front cover of the book shows her delightfully titled photograph: Only to Taste the Warmth, the Light, the Wind 1939: BlogArtBooksReszd40%Image (682) This small book, which was produced to accompany an exhibition of her work by the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000,  contains photographs from the 1930s to mid 1940s, when she worked with her first husband, Max Dupain, at his studio in Sydney, as well as work from the 1980s, when she revisited her negatives and her passion for ‘drawing with light’. I love this photograph of a dandelion head, titled: Seedhead 1990 from page 59.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.53.50Her photographs display her great love for nature, as seen in her landscapes and flower studies; her keen observational powers; her wide range of subject matter; her fluidity of style, moving freely between Pictorialism, the style perfected by her predecessor, Harold Cazneaux (see above), and Modernism; and her great love of the photographic medium.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.55.03Her photographs are so beautiful and almost like paintings eg Interior (My Room) 1933, shown above, from page 13, and Cardboard Design 1935, shown below from page 25:

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I also love Tea Cup Ballet 1935, a different take on the same subject matter of Margaret Preston’s  Implement Blue 1927, shown below, from page 24;BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.54.50

Jean-Lorraine By Candlelight 1943, from page 37;

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and The Sleeper 1939, shown below from page 31:

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.54.32

Margaret Olley by Barry Pearce 1996

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Another famous Australian artist, Margaret Olley (1923-2011) came to fame from the 1950s and 1960s on and is still very popular today. The book cover features one of her early works: Portrait in the Mirror 1948. The photo below is of one of her very famous paintings: Afternoon Interior with Cornflowers 1990, from page 103.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.06.33 I adore her still-lifes and rich, cluttered interiors, full of colour, vases of flowers and vintage objects and furniture. I just love the colours in her painting Chianti Bottle and Pomegranates 1994-1995 (photograph from page 112):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.59 This book traces her life, her travels and her work, reproduced in the numerous full colour plates in this lovely book. The mask in the photo below, painted in her Interior IV 1970, page 59 of the book, bears testament to her three trips to Papua New Guinea between 1965 and 1968.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.07.50 I love the lemons tumbling out of the basket in  Lemons 1964, the photo from page 51. BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.08.23 They were such comfortable homey interiors too like Yellow Tablecloth with Cornflowers 1995, photograph taken from page 126 of the book.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.27 In fact, I could own any one of her works. They are all so beautiful, as well as probably being very pricey these days! Another favourite for its rich warm colours is Clivias 1984, photograph from page 97 of the book. I just love that kelim!!!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.06.53Fortunately, she left her possessions to the Tweed Regional Gallery at Murwillimbah, so we were able to visit the Margaret Olley Art Centre during our recent trip to Brisbane, a wonderful treat! The first photo below is The Chinese Screen 1994-1995 from page 10, while the last photo is Yellow Room with Lupins II 1994-1995 from page 122.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.08.47 The centre also includes a recreation of key areas of her famous home studio at 48 Duxford Street, Paddington, Sydney : the Hat Factory (living room, dining room and  kitchen) and Yellow Room, all built to scale, with original architectural elements like windows, doors and fireplaces, and over 20 000 items, collected by Margaret over many years as subject matter for her paintings. See: http://artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/VisitUs and http://artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/MargaretOlleyArtCentre.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.17Finally, some books about some contemporary artists among the Baby Boomers, all of whom have a deep affection for Australia and its amazing flora and fauna!

Criss Canning: The Pursuit of Beauty by David Thomas 2008BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (688)

The book cover above features Still Life with Poppy Cedric Morris 2007.

Criss Canning’s art is very similar in style, talent and subject matter to Margaret Olley. In fact, Margaret Olley was a close friend and supportive mentor and in 1999, Margaret actually bought one of Criss’s paintings : Waratah in a Green Jug 1999, seen below from page 139 in the book and donated it to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  See: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4417688/olleys-living-legacy/ and https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/61.2000/.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.42I first discovered Criss Canning, when she visited my garden club in Armidale with her husband David Glenn, of Lambley Nursery fame. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria/.

Her love of native Australian flora can be seen in her painting titled: Winter Banksia 2001 from page 155.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.02.09This beautiful coffee table book was written and published to coincide with her retrospective exhibition at Ballarat Fine Art Gallery in 2007 and it certainly does justice to all her wonderful sumptuous paintings with full page colour plates in glossy paper. Below is another ode to Australian flora: Gum Blossom 1995, photo from page 123.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.25David Thomas traces her life from her birth in 1947, exactly one month before my husband (!), and childhood in Laburnum, near Blackburn, a suburb of Melbourne, which was then rural acreage; her struggles as a single mother of two young children; her sojourn on the island of Rhodes in Greece, inspired by Charmaine Clift; her marriage and life with David Glenn in Ascot, near Ballarat, and her later more minimalist works, influenced by  her love of  Japanese artseen in Freesia’s and Japanese Tea Service 1996 from page 175 and the geometric designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.01.11I adore her beautiful floral studies: their rich colour; bold composition; strong patterns and dramatic contrast and flowing textile backdrops, as can be seen in her paintings titled: Black and White 1999, the first photo below from page 77 and Arthur Merric Boyd Coffee Set 2003, the second photo below from page 160.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.52BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0044I love her talented portrayal of metal surfaces and her patterned backgrounds, as seen in the first photo below: Silver Reflections 2003 from page 162 and the silver tray in the second photo below: Native Flowers and Silver Tray 2001 from page 149,BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0045BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.54As well as her wonderful sense of colour, as seen in Poppies 1987 from page 43.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0047 To see more of her work, visit her site at: http://crisscanning.com.au/.

Salvatore Zofrea: Days of Summer by Anne Ryan 2009BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (693)

This lovely book features the work of Salvatore Zoffrea, an Italian-Australian printmaker, who produces beautiful woodcuts of Australian flora and the bush. The book cover features his woodcut: Mountain Devil Grevillea with Eggs and Bacon Pea, Native Iris and Kunzea, while the photo below shows Bowerbirds with Native Irises and Eggs and Bacon Pea from page 43.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.57 Like Criss Canning, he was also influenced heavily by Japanese art, especially its traditional Japanese woodcuts, as well as European art. I love his delightful work: Tea Tree with Bronze Pigeon in the photo below, taken from page 39.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.06 I love his attention to detail, the busyness of his designs, his use of colour or lack of colour, his sense of wonder at the beauty and abundance of the Australian bush and his underlying message of the importance of conservation and sustainability. The photo below is a closeup of a double page spread, page 62 and 63, featuring his large woodcut, 3 metres long, titled: Bellbirds at Kurrajong, which was made by carving nine blocks of marine plywood and was his artistic response to a local incident at Mandeni, near Merimbula, where a bellbird population was culled due to their destruction of eucalyptus trees. Little did we realize that five years later we would be living in the area!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.25 We felt so lucky to see these wonderful prints by chance when passing through Wagga Wagga in 2010. See: http://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/art-gallery/exhibitions-landing/past-exhibitions/exhibitions-2010/salvatore-zofrea-days-of-summer); http://mrag.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ZofreaProposal_sml.pdf and http://mrag.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ZofreaEdKit_11_01_10.pdf.

Byron Portfolio: An Artist’s Response to the Byron Shire  by Karen Wynn-Moylan 1989BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (691)Another environmental artist, whose work I love is Karen Wynn-Moylan, also known as Karena Wynn-Moylan. Her book cover features her watercolour, View From Honeysuckle to Tallows Beach, a familiar scene from coastal holidays in the area many years ago.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.58.11Karen works in a variety of media: watercolours, oils, acrylics and pastels – to record and celebrate the beauty of the unique flora and fauna of her subtropical home environment in the Byron Shire, as well as encourage an appreciation of the environment and the need for conservation. Her love of her local rainforest can be seen in the photo above of her watercolour painting, The Clearing, page 43, while her pastel, Sunsoaked, on page 7, portrays a subject matter typical of the local area!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.35 I love The Flowering Beach, a mixed media painting on page 21, the fine dots of colour so typical of the Australian bush.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.11 Nasturtiums (Mullumbimby Laneway), labelled The Nasturtians in the book on page 29 and seen in the photo below, reminds me of our holidays at Hat Head with its old-fashioned dirt lane ways, lined with bougainvillea and frangipanis, wooden sheds and garages and leaning wooden fences, trailing with nasturtiums.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.58.56 For a look at her work, see: http://www.karenawynn-moylan.bravehost.com/.  As a Tasmanian, I really loved her new oil: Summer Above the Snowline: Mt Wellington, at: http://www.karenawynn-moylan.bravehost.com/newwork.html.

The final artist in this post, Michael Leunig, also has much to say about our treatment of the environment, as well as each other, as can be seen in the following book:

The Michael Leunig Collection: Favourite Paintings and Drawings by Michael Leunig 1991BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (695)Born in 1945, Michael Leunig is a much-loved and well-known cartoonist with delightfully quirky characters, who highlight the absurdities of life, and wonderfully whimsical poetry. The book cover features his well-known cartoon, The Kiss 1985.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.04.10His work is just so much fun and he addresses serious issues with a humorous light-hearted approach, which is very effective, as seen in the photo above of his cartoon, Plastic Shopping Bags in Autumn 1989 from page 22, though we are only just starting to address the issue in 2017! BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.03.57I love his characters, Mr Curly and Vasco Pyjama, as well as the small things of life:  his ducks, houses, teapots and angels. The photo above is Mr Curly Comes Home 1973, from page 30, while the colour photograph below is the book cover for The Travelling Leunig, published by Penguin in 1990, and reproduced on page 112 of this book. BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.04.58This book is a taster to some of his most famous drawings. We own a number of his books, and his work also appears regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as a free annual calendar. For more on his work, see: http://www.leunig.com.au/.

I will finish this post  with one of his delightful prayers from his website :

Dear God,

We rejoice and give thanks for earthworms,
bees, ladybirds and broody hens;
for humans tending their gardens, talking to animals,
cleaning their homes and singing to themselves;
for rising of the sap, the fragrance of growth,
the invention of the wheelbarrow and the existence of the teapot,
we give thanks. We celebrate and give thanks.

Amen.

 

 

The Wonderful World of Art: Part One

Now for a visual treat: a post on some of my favourite books about both art and artists, many of which we have bought after attending a wonderful exhibition!

Art is such a personal concept and performs many different purposes from representing our world to exploring personal ideas or beliefs. Being a romantic at heart and a bit of an ostrich, I tend to be drawn to works of beauty, as I feel our world has enough ugliness in reality, without perpetuating it in our art! A typical example is one of my most favourite paintings: End of Dinner by Jules-Alexandre Grun 1913 https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-end-of-dinner-jules-alexandre-grun.html.

I will start with two general books on art, then introduce you to some books featuring of my favourite artists and art periods in chronological order. Note: This selection is based solely on my art library and is a very incomplete representation of my favourite art and artists! For example, I love Impressionism, but do not own any books on it or its proponents in my art library, so they are not included in this post. Because this is quite a long post, I have divided it into two parts: Part One: General Art Books and Pre-1900s; and Part Two: Post 1900s.

In my last book post on Architectural Books, I discussed one book, which covered both the architecture and art of Islam, so I thought I would begin with:

The Orient in Western Art by Gérard-Georges Lemaire 2000BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (680)

For over 2 000 years, the Western imagination has been excited by the world of the Orient from Egypt to Palestine and Greece to Turkey with its exoticism and mystery, its domes and minarets and harems of beautiful women, as depicted in the art of :

Bellini, Carpaccio, Veronese, Tintoretto, Rubens and Rembrandt (15th to 17th Centuries);

The beautiful women of Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Jean-Étienne Liotard and Antoine de Favray and landscapes of Jean-Baptiste Hilair in the 18th Century;

The battle scenes of Jean-Léon Gérôme, François Watteau, Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, Anne-Louise Girodet de Roussy-Trioson and Alexandre Bida;  and

Egyptian scenes, painted by David Roberts, Frederick Goodall, William James Müller, Adrian Dauzats, Prosper Marilhat and Rudolf Ernst of the 18th Century.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.09.00

I particularly loved Private Conversation by John Frederick Lewis (p 134; photo above); Odalisque by Natale Schiavoni (p 150; first photo below), Jewish Girl in Tangiers by Charles Landelle (p 169; fourth photo below) and Algerian Woman and Her Slave by Ange Tissier on the book cover (first photo of this post).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.09.13 Constantinople featured in The Slave Market by Sir William Allen 1838 and View of Constantinople by Germain-Fabius Brest 1870.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.10.09 Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was entranced by the women of the harem, with some beautiful sensuous nudes like Odalisque (p 202, photo above); Little Bather; Grand Odalisque and Turkish Bath (see: http://www.jeanaugustedominiqueingres.org/), as was Théodore Chassériau – I love his Dance of the Kerchiefs 1849 (p 226).BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0018 Jean-Léon Gérôme painted some lovely river scenes, while Gustave Moreau was fascinated with classical mythology and especially, Salome. Auguste Renoir’s Odalisque 1870 and Seated Algerian 1881 are also favourites.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.09.32While the book also features the work of more modern artists, to my mind, none match the beauty and romance of the earlier period. It is a lovely dreamy book and does credit to these beautiful artworks!

Now for something totally different, yet still close to our heart:

A Brush With Birds: Australian Bird Art From the National Library of Australia Introduction by Penny Olsen 2008BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (685)

Being keen bird-lovers, we had to buy this book! With  full-page colour reproductions of bird art and brief notes on each artist’s life, it showcases bird art from 1788 to the present and a wide variety of styles from the rather stilted representations of the early colonial artists in an attempt to record these strange new birds for scientific purposes (John Hunter, George Raper and Sarah Stone) and the more realistic etchings of John Lewin and the Goulds (John and Elizabeth) to the bird identification guides by the Neville Cayleys (father and son), Ebenezer Edward Gostelow (front cover of the book), Lilian Medland and Betty Temple Watts and the hyper-realistic bird portraits by William Thomas  Cooper, a particular favourite. I love his attention to fine detail like the feathers and his stunning use of colour, seen in the photo below, from page 101 of the book.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.01.43

Lars Knudsen’s Australian Birds by Lars Knudsen 1995

Another bird artist, who loves colour, but was not in the above book, is Lars Knudsen.BlogArtBooksReszd40%Image (697) - Copy Born in 1931, so this book is definitely not in chronological order (!), Lars grew up in North Queensland, where he fell in love with the amazing bird life. He spent many years working in advertising in Sydney, before setting up a studio in Spain in 1977 and painting birds full-time.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.10.28 Since returning to Australia in 1985, he has produced numerous limited edition prints and now has a studio and gallery at Hampton in the Blue Mountains. In fact, I bought this lovely little book, showcasing 29 of his best Australian bird paintings, along with detailed comments about each bird, at Everglades, Leura in the Blue Mountains.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.10.44 They are stunning paintings, full of movement and colour and really capture the essence of each bird. I particularly loved the Orange-Bellied Parrots (p 30); the Whiskered Terns (p 38); both photographed above, and the Regent Bowerbird (p 53); and the Australian King Parrots (p 56), both photographed below.

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I love his slightly abstract style, the colours of the backgrounds complementing the birds so well and his love and passion for birds and their environment really shines through. A delightful little book!BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.11.10A Vision of Eden: The Life and Work of Marianne North by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1980BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (694)

Marianne North (1830-1890) is a great favourite of ours! An intrepid traveller, contemporary of Charles Darwin and Sir Joseph Hooker and highly talented artist, she produced over 800 oil paintings, now housed in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew (https://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html). Her paintings show such accuracy and attention to detail and introduced the pre-photography public of the day to the huge diversity of life and natural wonders of the world.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.58

I love her botanical studies (Page 26 North American Carnivorous Plants in the photo above; and Page 68 Flowers of a Coral Tree, Brazil, in the photo below, BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.46

as well as her exotic landscapes like the Taj Mahal at Agra (above) and the Road Up To Naini Tal, India (below) from page 126 :BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.25and her painting of Distant View of Mount Kinchinjunga, from Darjeeling, India (p 132):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.34This book follows her life from her early days and home life to her travels in Canada and the United States; Jamaica; Brazil; Japan; Indonesia; India and Ceylon; Australia and New Zealand; South Africa and Chile in South America. I love the simplicity of this painting: A Road Near Bath, Jamaica, Lined With Palms, Bread-Fruit and Cocoa, from page 46:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.12.11

As an Australian, it is fascinating to read her travel diary notes and descriptions of the native flora and fauna,  though she could be quite ascerbic:

Brisbane in 1880  is described as: ‘a most unattractive place- a sort of overgrown village, with wide empty streets full of driving dust and sand, surrounded by wretched suburbs of wooden houses scattered over bare steep hills’ (p 158)

and Tenterfield as: ‘what Australians call “a very pretty place”, meaning that there was not a tree within a mile of it, and that it had a little water within reach’ (p 161).

As she travelled south, her mood improved! Armadale (her spelling, but really spelt Armidale) was ‘a considerable place, with some stone houses in it and a bishop’ (p162), where hotel rooms cost 10 shillings a day and meat, a shilling for 10 pounds.

Bendemeer was ‘a pretty green meadow with a clear river running through it, bordered by casuarina trees’ (p 162), though the accommodation was flea-ridden and noisy!

She was very comfortable in Sydney, staying at the Prime Minister’s house in the Blue Mountains; Elizabeth Bay; and Camden, so by the time she reached Melbourne, she was positively rapturous, declaring the city to be: ‘a noble city, and its gardens are even more beautiful than those of Sydney, with greater variety of ground, and lovely views over the river. It is by far the most real city in Australia, and the streets are as full of quickly-moving people as those of London’ (p 168).BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0019 She even visited Perth and Albany in Western Australia and Hobart in Tasmania, where she raved over Mt. Wellington, as seen in her painting: View in the Forest on Mt. Wellington; p 181; photo above). I had to laugh at her assertion that: ‘Cherries, raspberries, every kind of fruit which grows at home grew better than at home. Half the jam in the world is made in Tasmania.‘ (p 178).

The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites by Steven Adams 1988

While well-connected Marianne was very much part of the establishment, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were much more controversial, rejecting the conservatism of the Royal Academy and aspiring to the era before Raphael, hence their name.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (675)

This book examines the academic tradition, against which they rebelled; the inception of the group in 1848 and the famous works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, John Everett  Millais, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, William Holman Hunt and Ford Maddox Brown. They certainly produced some beautiful art, especially Millais’ family scenes (Autumn Leaves 1855-1856), as well as his famous Ophelia 1851 and Rossetti’s classically inspired ‘Stunners’ with their heart-shaped faces,  full lips, hooded eyes, unrestrained flowing hair and extravagant robes, like Proserpine 1874 and The Beloved 1865 (book cover). See: http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/rossettis-models/ .

The Pre-Raphaelites also led very unconventional (and messy!) lives, recounted superbly in Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites by Franny Moyle 2009, as well as the accompanying BBC TV production.

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It is a fascinating read! I think William Morris was very forbearing, as well as being a fascinating character and a real Renaissance man, gifted with so many talents! I adore his work and ethos, so it is not surprising that I own two books about his life and work!

William Morris & Morris & Co. by Lucia Van der Post 2003

Father of the Arts and Crafts Movement and one of Britain’s greatest and best-known designers, whose wallpapers and textiles are still enormously popular, William Morris was born into a wealthy family in 1834 and studied art and literature at Oxford University, where he developed his passion for medievalism and the Gothic and met his lifelong friend, Edward Burne-Jones, through whom he came into contact with the Pre-Raphaelites .

He hated the mass production , pastiche, excessiveness and ugliness of Victorian industrial society, espousing a return to the medieval guilds, simplicity  and true craftmanship, as seen in the ceramic tiles, metalwork, woodwork, furniture, glass, textiles, embroideries, carpets and wallpapers, produced by his firm Morris & Co.

I have always loved his famous quote:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

I also love his intensely personal involvement with all these crafts and the way he taught himself the necessary skills, whether it was stained glass; clay modelling; illuminating manuscripts; calligraphy; book production; carving wood and stone; wood engraving; mural and tile painting; natural dyeing or tapestry weaving and hand embroidery.

This lovely small book examines the key components of his work under the chapter titles of: Craft; Colour; Honesty; Pattern; Nature; and Legend, with colour photographs of his beautiful work  and patterns throughout. By incorporating Morris designs in a wide variety of settings and modern contexts, the book also provides inspiration for contemporary homeowners.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (677)

And if you still haven’t had your fill of his designs, another excellent book about his life and work is:

The Art of William Morris by Christine Poulson 2004, in which the chapters are more chronologically-ordered, following his early life and university study, his establishment of the Firm, his involvement with the Pre-Raphaelites; his marriage and family life; his homes; his political beliefs, public speaking and writings, published through his Kelmscott Press.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (676)

The Arts & Crafts Companion by Pamela Todd 2008/ 2011

The ultimate guide to the Arts and Crafts Movement (1880 – 1920), it begins with its philosophy and background; its proponents including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Walter Crane,  CFA Voysey, William Lethaby, Ernest Gimson, the Barnsley brothers,  Philip Webb, MH Baillie Scott and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and that is only a small portion of the British Arts and Crafts movement. It was also occurring simultaneously in the rest of Europe and the United States of America.

The main section of the book is devoted to lengthy and detailed  chapters about all aspects of the Arts and Crafts Movement: Architecture, Interior Design, Furniture, Textiles and Wallpaper, Stained Glass and Lighting, Pottery and Ceramics, Metalwork and Jewellery; the Printed Word and Gardens, the latter being the subject of my main assessment during my garden history studies.

I loved reading about these gardens, especially those created by Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens (Munstead Wood; Hestercombe; and the Deanery); I would love to visit them one day, as well as Red House, Kent (Philip Webb and William Morris) and Kelmscott Manor (William Morris) in the Cotswolds; Standen, West Sussex (Philip Webb), Snowshill Manor (Baillie Scott), Rodmarton Manor (ErnestBarnsley), both in Gloucestershire and Blackwell, overlooking Windermere in the Lake District (MH Baillie Scott). The famous gardens of Hidcote Manor, Sissinghurst and Great Dixter have also been heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. See: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/our-arts-and-crafts-houses-and-gardens.

I also love the simplicity, subtlety and harmony of the wallpapers, textiles and furniture designed by CFA Voysey, who described his ideal interior as:

a well-proportioned room, with white-washed walls, plain carpet and simple oak furniture’ with a simple vase of flowers and repeated decorative  motifs and symbols like stylized hearts‘.

His houses had low roofs, wide eaves, low horizontal windows, white roughcast walls and exposed beams and brickwork.

It was also very interesting to read about the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on embroidery (including the Glasgow School of Art); Morris’s mastery of indigo discharge printing and natural dyeing; early electric lamps from the 1880s on; and stunning jewellery, inset with moonstones, amethyst and mother-of-pearl, as well as pearls, opals, coral, turquoise, malachite and lapis lazuli.

At the back of the book is a Source Book with key addresses and websites for the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as an extensive bibliography.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (679)

Now for books about four more artists, born during the 1860s, who were developing their artistic styles over this first half of this period: Alphonse Mucha ( 1860-1939) from Czechoslovakia; Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) from Vienna, Austria and two Australian artists, Bertram Mackennal (1863-1931) and Rupert Bunny (1864-1947), both of whom achieved their fame in Europe. All of them produced stunningly beautiful art, reflected in the colour-plates of these gorgeous books.

Alphonse Mucha by Sarah Mucha 2005

Alphonse Mucha was most famous for his Art Nouveau posters (advertising and art posters) with their sinuous lines, pastel colours, beautiful women and decorative motifs, but like other artists of the day, he was also interested in a wide variety of other artistic endeavours from pastels, drawings and oils; sculpture; photography; stained glass; architecture and interior design; furniture; tableware and cutlery; jewellery; tapestry and books. The book cover shown below features his colour lithograph Dance 1898.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (674)

This lovely book explores his life, influences and beliefs, the history of the time and the birth of Art Nouveau, and includes his wonderful photographs of his models and family. We were introduced to Mucha, when we bought one of his prints, Music 1898, on our second trip overseas and were delighted to see all his other beautiful designs in this book. I can honestly say that I love them all!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.40.49 Compare the colour of our print with the same design, shown in the photo below (p 25), showing the way his designs could be reproduced in a large number of different formats.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.07.26

His women are so sensual, romantic and feminine, and I adore his backgrounds with abstract and naturalistic patterns and strong flowing lines, as seen in Reverie 1897 (p 38).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.08.07Mucha used floral and botanic details, as well as Byzantine, Celtic, Japanese, Rococo, Gothic, Judaic and Czech folk elements in his work, as can be seen in his mosaic backgrounds, extravagant robes and jewellery and arabesques, all embellished with strong stylised outlines. I love the photo below his lamp titled La Nature 1899 (page 14).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.07.02 He used his designs in decorative panels and murals; posters; paintings; jewellery and haircombs; Moet and Chandon labels and menus; packages and postcards; and in 1902, produced a handbook for craftsmen, Documents Décoratifs , containing 72 plates, drawn in pencil and highlighted with white pigment, of all the necessary patterns for creating an Art Nouveau lifestyle, as well as being an encyclopaedia of all his decorative work. They include a realistic study of nature, the designs becoming increasingly stylised for metal, leather, glass and lace work; studies of nudes and women’s heads, showing how the human body has decorative elements; and abstract ornamental framing with repetition of stylised motifs. Below is a photo of two designs for hair combs and jewellery for Documents Décoratifs in Plates 49 and 50 (page 73).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.08.25Mucha had a strong philosophical background to his work. Believing that art influenced all aspects of human life and was instrumental in uplifting the soul and promoting peace, harmony, beauty and a sense of moral goodness, he also was a strong proponent in art for the masses, creating strong stylized and often heavily symbolic designs (both explicit and hidden), which could be used repetitively to beautify goods of common consumption and utility, which could be afforded by the ordinary man. Here is Zodiac 1896 (p 28).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.07.37His idealism is epitomised by his later Slav Epic, 20 huge canvases, representing the last 1000 years of Slavic history, in which he celebrates the Slavic virtues of peacefulness; piety and devotion to learning and the arts; chronicles the oppression of the Slavs by their militaristic neighbours and laments the weakness, born of Slav disunity. The photo below is: The Apotheosis of the Slavs 1926 from page 18.BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0020With his wonderful ideals and sensitivity, it is little wonder that he died not long after interrogation by the Nazis in 1939 and his work was then largely forgotten in his homeland until the 1990s.

The Mucha Foundation was established in 1992 by his grandson John Mucha and daughter-in-law Geraldine Mucha, following the death of their father/ husband and Mucha’s son Jifi. Its aim is to preserve and promote Mucha’s art for future generations and to this end, has an  ongoing program of exhibitions all over the world. See: http://www.muchafoundation.org/. His work can also be seen at the Mucha Museum, which was opened in Prague in February 1998. See: http://www.mucha.cz/.

Gustav Klimt: Art Nouveau Visionary by Eva di Stefano 2008

Klimt is another favourite Art Nouveau portraitist and landscape painter. I have always loved his sumptuous gilded artworks, full of eroticism, symbolism and mystery, and his beautiful nudes, abstract colourful geometric patterns and gold leaf spirals. The book cover features his painting called Water Serpents I 1904.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (673) Like Mucha, he too had a thorough grounding in mosaics, metalwork, and painting, even preparing his own paints, as well as the symbolism and decorative motifs of many different eras and cultures from Greek ceramics and Egyptian and Assyrian reliefs to Slavic folklore. While specialising in painting, he also designed fashion and jewellery. This is one of his very famous paintings, The Kiss 1907-1908 from page 199:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.05.52This lovely book discusses his early life and Fin-de-siècle Vienna; his artistic creed; his landscapes and allegorical friezes; the women in his life, his scandalous paintings and his secession years, having been a founding member of the Vienna Secessionist movement. Another very famous erotic painting is The Virgin 1912-1913 from page 227 of the book:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.06.22For more about Klimt, see: https://www.klimtgallery.org/ and http://www.klimt.com/. Also read  ‘The Painted Kiss’ by Elizabeth Hickey (http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Painted-Kiss/Elizabeth-Hickey/9780743492614) and the film, Woman in Gold (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404425/).

Bertram Mackennal : The Fifth Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Project  by Deborah Edwards 2007

One of the earliest Australian- born artists to seek fame and achieve success on the international stage, especially France and Britain. He was the first Australian artist to exhibit at the Royal Academy, London; the first overseas artist (and first Australian) to be elected to the Royal Academy; and the first Australian artist to have work purchased for the Tate Gallery and to be knighted. The book cover features a closeup of an exquisite bronze Circe 1893, the statuette from 1902-1904 appearing on page 31.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (684)Travelling to Europe in 1882, aged 19 years old, he was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau and  the avant-garde aspirations of the British ‘New Sculptors’, creating beautiful naturalistic figures in bronze and marble, based on symbolist themes. By the early 1900s, he had become a prominent civic sculptor and a master of Edwardian style and elegance. I love this bronze Morning (Woman Dressing Her Hair) 1902 from p 110:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.03.58Despite being highly successful overseas, he is less well-known here in Australia, so this book was produced, along with an accompanying CD-ROM, to educate the Australian public about his life,  showcase his smaller domestic sculptures and complement a retrospective exhibition, held in Sydney and his home-town of  Melbourne, where we were introduced to his work. I fell in love with his work- so beautiful and so tactile, the full-page colour-plates of this gorgeous coffee-table book really do justice to his amazing sculptures! Here is a delightful small marble statue, Sappho 1909 from page 70.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.04.20Rupert Bunny: Artist in Paris by Deborah Edwards 2009

While Mackennal was the most internationally successful Australian artist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Rupert Bunny was Australia’s most successful painter in Paris, both men finally eclipsed by Sidney Nolan in the 1950s and 1960s.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (692) Arriving in Paris in 1887, just as PostImpressionism and Symbolism were emerging, he was heavily influenced by these movements, as well as the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and French Realism. The book cover features his dreamy oil painting titled Dolce Farniente 1897, seen in full in the photo below from page 60.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.02.21 This beautiful book, also produced to accompany a wonderful exhibition at the National Gallery Of Victoria, describes his life in France; his successes and his sumptuous paintings from biblical and literary paintings (1889-1905), for example:  his beautiful oil painting A Summer Morning 1897, the photo taken from page 63 of the book;BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.02.31 the beautiful women and fashions of the fin-de-siècle (1896-1911);BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.03.26 the works for the Ballet Russes; and his later landscapes and mythological paintings in the decorative modern style (1913-1930). I loved his oil  The Sun Bath 1913 (page 105):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.03.40It was wonderful seeing the large artworks closeup and this book is a lovely reminder of his beautiful romantic and sensuous paintings.

On Thursday, I will continue this post on Art Books with more wonderful artworks from the 1900s on.

History Books : Part Two : Australian Prehistory

In my last post, I discussed some of my favourite general books on archaeology and the prehistory of mankind. Today, I am focusing on Australian Prehistory, beginning with three books by the celebrated paleobotanist, Mary E White. The Greening of Gondwana and After the Greening are the first two books of her trilogy on the evolution of Australia, the continent and its biota, over 400 million years, the third volume being Listen.. Our Land is Crying. They are all beautiful hardback publications with luscious glossy photographs by Jim Frazier! I am only discussing the first two, as those are the books we own.

The Greening of Gondwana by Mary E White  Third Edition 1998

This book tells the story of Australia’s floral heritage from the earliest times, when all life was aquatic; the emergence of the first land plants, 400 million years ago; and the evolution of Australia’s modern flora and the Gondwanan broad-leaf conifer forests, when Australia finally separated from Antarctica 45 million years ago and moved northward.

There are over 400 wonderful photographs of fossils and living plants, as well as palaeographic maps, artist’s drawings and diagram and tables (Geological eras; Linnaean plant classification; Evolution of the plant kingdom; Australia’s fossil pollen record; and Fossil age and locality).

Part One starts with a description of the rocks of the earth’s crust; the dawn of life; the first unicellular life forms: the Western Australian stromatolites (fossil reefs of cyanobacteria, 3 500 million years old) and unicellular algae; and the formation of plant fossils (macro-fossils and microscopic spores and pollen).

The book then goes on to discuss the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics; Australia’s Gondwanan heritage; and the evolution of an Australian flora from the ancestral Gondwanan flora, which developed in isolation for 30 million years without any significant input from migrants, despite Australia’s proximity to South-East Asia.

While Eucalypts and Acacias predominate, 80 per cent of all the plant species and 30 per cent of Australia’s genera are endemic, accounting for the distinctive Australian character of the flora: its leathery, hard, spiny or reduced leaves, an adaptation to the low nutrient status of the Australian soils and the dry arid conditions called scleromorphy, these plants being called sclerophylls.

Australian plants also have many adaptations to fire: thick insulating protective bark or the shedding of outer layers of bark, so there is no build up of inflammable matter; new buds produced along the length of the stem after fire has destroyed the crown of the tree and underground lignotubers; and hard woody fruits and seeds, which can survive intense heat and often need the stimulus of fire to burst open and start to grow.

Part Two examines Australia’s fossil record in detail:

Life in the early seas (Cambrian, Ordovician and Early to Mid Silurian times);

First land plants of the Late Silurian and Early Devonian periods;

Giant club mosses of the Late Devonian and early Carboniferous periods;

Primitive seed ferns of the mid to late Carboniferous and early Permian years;

Glossopteris flora of the Permian period, when cool temperate swamps formed the early coal deposits and early gingkos, cycad ancestors, conifers and tree ferns were abundant;

Dicroidium flora of the Triassic period;

Age of the Conifers and the cycads of the Jurassic period;

Dawn of the Angiosperms (or Flowering Plants) in the Cretaceous Era;   and

The sequence of events in the Gondwanan breakup and its effect on the flora.

Australia became an ark with a living cargo of Gondwanan plants (predominated by flowering plants) and animals (marsupials, monotremes, large monitors, penguins and emus, parrots and frogmouths, pollinating honeyeaters, Southern Frogs and Side-Necked Turtles) during the Tertiary period, moving northward and having no outside contact for 30 million years.

Specific families are discussed in the book:

Antarctic Beeches Fagaceae (genus Nothofagus);

Winteraceae, one of the most primitive angiosperm families alive today, which includes native pepper Tasmannia;

Proteaceae (Banksia, Proteas and Leucospermum, Persoonia, Telopea, and Macadamia);

Casuarinaceae (She-oaks, Desert Oaks and River-Oaks);

Myrtaceae (Eucalyptus, Leptospermums, Baeckea, Syzgium and Angophoras);

Salt bushes Chenopodiaceae;

Mistletoes Loranthaceae; and

Wattles of Mimosaceae (genus Acacia).

The final chapters discuss Australia’s modern flora from the Quarternary period on, including vegetation types and a map (alpine, rainforest, wet sclerophyll, dry sclerophyll, woodlands, mallee woodlands and scrub, mulga scrub, desert and semi-desert, salt-bush scrub, grasslands and mangroves), as well as a brief mention of the intrusion of northern plants and animals, which came with man, especially after European colonization.BlogPreHxBooksReszd20%Image (591)

After the Greening: The Browning of Australia  by Mary E White 1994

This book continues the story of Australia’s prehistory and the geological processes behind the rifting (160 to 45 million years ago), drifting (15 to 2.4 million years ago) and drying (2.4 million years ago to today) of the continent to become the driest vegetated continent on Earth.

Two thirds of the land is classed as arid and half is desert, yet it supports an amazing variety of desert-adapted fauna and flora. The last 2.4 million years are particularly significant, as they represent the Age of Man and a time when icecaps had a profound effect on the physical landscapes, climate and biota of Australia.

Aboriginal Australians arrived around 60 000 year ago, but the most dramatic changes have occurred over the past 200 years since European settlement, completely unbalancing our delicate ecological balance through grazing; clearing; and the introduction of feral rabbits, goats, horses, donkeys, pigs, buffalo, camels, cats and foxes, not to mention garden escapees and weeds.

The formation of the Great Dividing Range, Australia’s river system, the Murray Basin, the Great Artesian Basin, Nullabor Desert, Ayers Rock and the Olgas is covered, along with the adaptation of Australian flora to the changing climate; ancient weathered soils; droughts and flooding rain; fire; and salt.

The last part of the book discusses Australia’s vegetation regions in detail, as well as future challenges. Again, there is so much information, supported by beautiful colour photographs, maps, tables and diagrams.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (590)

The final book in the trilogy: Listen.. Our Land is Crying examines Australia’s environmental problems: land and water degradation, increased salinisation and desertification, decreasing biodiversity and habitat destruction, water pollution, the greenhouse effect and feral weeds and animals, suggesting possible solutions and highlighting the amazing unique wonders of our continent. While we don’t own this final book, we do have another of her glossy geological books:

Time in Our Hands : Semi-Precious Gemstones: Keys to the Geological Past by Mary E White 1991, which covers many of her previous topics, but mainly concentrates on the semi-precious gemstones of Lune River, Tasmania: the agates, onyx, carnelian and jasper, all forms of quartz gemstones made from silica dioxide, as well as petrified conifers and tree-ferns.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (592)

Now for some excellent books on aboriginal prehistory!  One of the earliest  books on Aboriginal origins and culture was the first edition of John Mulvaney’s The Prehistory of Australia in 1969, with a second edition in 1975. The following book is the third edition with substantial changes in content, while still retaining the orientation and much of the original structure of the earlier books, when Mulvaney was the sole author. John Mulvaney is one of Australia’s foremost prehistorians and John Kamminga, an expert on Aboriginal stone technology.

Prehistory of Australia by John Mulvaney and Johan Kamminga 1999

A very comprehensive guide to the Australian aborigines and their traditional way of life.

Chapters cover the following topics:

Diversity of surviving traces: Surface artefacts; shell middens; caves and rock shelters; earth mounds; ceremonial mounds and rock arrangements; stone and ochre quarries; rock art sites; stone hunting-hides and bird and fish traps; scarred trees; hatchet-head grinding localities; and human burials;

Dating the past;

Changing Australian landscapes: Topography, climate, vegetation, cleaning the land, fire-stick farming, water resources and carrying capacity of the land;

People, language and society: Population estimates, language groups, social organization, the Dreaming; and culture areas;

Subsistence and reciprocity: Mobility and seasonality; Animal and plant food: bulbs and tubers, starch extraction, seeds and the farming debate; Material culture : travelling light, hunting weapons, skin cloaks, bone and stone implements, and stone hatchets; Reciprocity and cultural diffusion; and Aboriginal trade in pituri and greenstone;

Seafarers from Sundaland (South East Asia and Indonesia) to Sahul (the super-continent of Australia and Papua New Guinea) during the fluctuating sea levels of Pleistocene;

Extinction of the Mega-Fauna;

Initial colonization, migration theories and Pleistocene settlement: Kow Swamp, Lake Mungo and Tasmania;

Conquest of the deserts: Willandra Lakes; Lake Mungo; Menindee Lakes; Lake Eyre; Nullabor caves; the Pilbara region; and Central Australia;

Pleistocene artefacts : Wood, bone, and stone tools;

Holocene stone tool innovations;

Coastal aborigines: Kakadu; Aurukun and Weipa; South-East Queensland; Sydney; South Coast of NSW; and South-Western Australia;

Regional challenges and responses: The Snowy Mountains; Murray River societies; the arid zones; trade and exchange networks; and technological developments;

Island settlement of the offshore islands and Tasmania;  and a major section on

Rock Art:

  • Panaramitee style of engraving from western NSW to Eastern South Australia and northwards to Alice Springs;
  • Simple figurative motifs of South-eastern Australia: Simple outlines or stick figures with solid or linear infills and simple geometric designs and stencilling                     eg the Southern Highlands and the Grampians;
  • Engravings and pigment art of the Sydney region;
  • Art of Tropical Australia:

1. South-East Cape York: Laura: Quinkan country and Jowalbinna: engravings and painted figurative and non-figurative art; and Koolburra Plateau;

2. Kakadu National Park: Succession of styles and X-ray painting;

3. The Pilbara: Burrup Peninsula engravings;

4. Victoria River District;

5. Kimberley region: Bradshaw figures and Wandjina paintings;

6. Asian and European Newcomers: the Trepang industry; Macassan sites; Chinese and Arab traders; and the Portuguese and Dutch explorers;

This book is an indispensable guide to aboriginal prehistory, especially if travelling around Australia, which we did in 2008!BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (614)

We found the next set of books by Josephine Flood, another prominent archaeologist, very useful in our travels as well:

The Original Australians: Story of the Aboriginal People  by Josephine Flood 2006

This book tells the story of Australian Aboriginal history and culture from their distant beginnings to the present day. She writes for the general public and uses history and culture to answer some of the major questions about the genetic origins of the First Australians; their lifestyle, culture, religion and beliefs; their impact on the megafauna and the Australian environment; and modern problems, including the stolen generation; land rights; the challenges of contemporary aboriginal communities (lower mortality, poverty, poor health, education, alcoholism and drugs etc) and future directions.

Chapters cover:

European discovery of Australia and encounters between the aborigines and Dutch explorers, Macassan traders and Captain Cook;

European colonization and its impact on the original inhabitants, including disease, kidnapping, the treatment of women, confrontation and conflict and severe depopulation between 1820 and 1920;

Indigenous life at first contact: Spirituality; totemism and animism; the Dreaming; Songlines; oral traditions; language (of which there were 250 different language groups); medicine men and women healers; shamans and sorcerers; childhood; initiation ceremonies; marriage and sex; other ceremonies, burials and fertility cults; the wisdom of the elders; law and order; and economy and exchange networks;

Aboriginal origins over the past 50 000 years: Physical characteristics; patterns of settlement; climate change; environmental impacts: the extinction of megafauna and use of the firestick; new technologies and diets; rock art; and language; and

Assimilation and modern day problems and challenges.

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Archaeology of the Dreamtime: The Story of Prehistoric Australia and Its People by Josephine Flood 1995

This book covers many of the above topics.

Part One examines stone and bone tools; the first boat people; routes to Australia; migration; life and death at Lake Mungo; the Australoids of Keilor, Kow Swamp and Willandra Lakes; genetic evidence; the peopling of Australia; early sites throughout Australia; Pleistocene rock art: petroglyphs (engravings) and rock paintings, with a discussion of all the major art sites in Australia; and the extinction of megafauna.

Part Two looks at climate changes and rising sea levels; the arrival of the dingo; food resources: Bogong moths; yams; eels and fish traps; processing toxic cycads; and aboriginal trade, religion and art over the past 1000 years.

At the back is a reference list of all the different Pleistocene artefacts, their location and dates.

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The Riches of Ancient Australia: An Indispensable Guide for Exploring Prehistoric Australia by Josephine Flood 1990

This book certainly lived up to the claim of its subtitle, especially on our 2008 travels around Australia, although we discovered that many of the sites described were no longer accessible to the public, due to cultural sensitivities, and many had a policy of ‘No Photography’. After a brief introduction to Australian prehistory over the last 60 000 years and a discussion of Australian rock art, each state is explored in detail.

We used this book at the following places:

Queensland :

1.Lark Quarry dinosaur footprints

2.Cape York:

Quinkan country at Laura:

The Gugu Yalangi Galleries;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4742BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4828BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4814 Split Rock;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5029 Giant Horse site and Mushroom Rock;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5068BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5069BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4993 and

Jowalbinna.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4567BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_45613. Riversleigh megafauna

Northern Territory

1.Kakadu National Park:

Anbangbang Gallery;

Nourlangie Rock;

Nanguluwur (Xray style); and

Ubirr;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5409BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_50872.Victoria River District

Western Australia

1.Chamberlain Gorge, El Questro

2.King George River and Mitchell Falls, Kimberley Plateau:

Gwion Gwion figures 20 000 years old;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9230 and the more recent Wandjina figures;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_91183.Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek

4.Burrup Peninsula engravings: Over 10 000 engravings of humans, animals and geometric figures up to 20 000 years old;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_1417

5.Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_2249BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_2240

South Australia:

Naracoorte Cave megafauna: This is a model of a Diprotodon, the largest marsupial ever!BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_8120 Victoria:

1.The Grampians;

2.Condah fish traps

We have also used this book at other times:

Carnarvon Gorge and Kenniff Cave, Mt Moffat, in Queensland; and

Mt Yarrowyck, Armidale;

The Warrumbungles;  and

Bawley Pt, NSW, with its giant shell middens;

and will definitely be consulting it before our trip to Lake Mungo, Willandra Lakes and Menindee Lakes at some stage in the future!

After our big trip around Australia, my appetite for further knowledge whetted by the large amount of rock art seen, we bought the following books:

 Lost World of the Kimberley: Extraordinary Glimpses of Australia’s Ice Age Ancestors by Ian Wilson 2006

We particularly loved the tiny exquisite and ancient Gwion Gwion Figures, also known as Bradshaw Figures, of the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley area! It was so exciting searching and finding these delightful artworks under rocky overhangs at the King George River area en route to Mitchell Falls. Because we had limited time, we splurged on a helicopter ride out over the stone circles on the plateau (photo below) and north to the sea, where we saw a mother and baby dugong, then followed the King Edward River back past huge salt water crocodiles lazing in the sun and the Lower Falls to the Upper Mitchell Falls, where we disembarked to explore the falls.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9373 Because we had not walked in, we easily lost the track on the way out, circumnavigationg the area and finding ourselves back at the falls, so if we ever returned to explore the Lower Falls (which we would love to do!), I would definitely use a helicopter both ways!BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9411 Apparently, there is a huge body of Gwion Gwion artwork at the Lower Falls, where the salt water meets the fresh water! Given that it is probably very unlikely that we will get back there, it is great to have this book! Ian documents the history of the discovery of this amazing artwork and describes the different artistic styles of Kimberley Rock Art:

Archaic Epoch: Cupules; Grooves; and Stencils;

Erudite Epoch:

Bradshaw Figures: Sash Figures; and Tassel Figures;

Clothes Peg Figures: Stick figures; and

Aboriginal Epoch: Clawed Hands; and Wandjina Period.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9470BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9237BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9203He examines the huge range of art sites and paintings, musing on the lifestyles, artefacts and clothing depicted, as well as their origins, not to mention the more enigmatic paintings of reindeer and high-prowed boats, which look very similar to those of the Ancient Egyptians!BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (613)

Rock Art of the Kimberley by Mike Donaldson and Kevin Kenneally 2007

A record of the proceedings of the Kimberley Society Rock Art Seminar back on 10th September 2005, this book contains chapters by different contributors on a wide variety of topics.

The editor, Mike Donaldson, writes an overview of the Kimberley area: its geology, past climate changes and sea level rises; early European discoverers; the different art forms (cupules; engravings; stencils; beeswax figures; stone arrangements and paintings); the materials used (ochres, charcoal and clays); the subject matter (Gwion Gwion and Wandjina figures; animals; and fighting scenes); and finally, the topic of repainting rock art sites, particularly pertinent to the Wandjina art work.

The latter is further discussed by Donny Woolagoodja, a Worrorra elder and artist, while Denis Callaghan discusses the natural deterioration of rock art sites and Ian Crawford describes the 1960s field work on Wandjina art.

Jim Ross examines evolution and genetics, the migration of the original aboriginal ancestors, climate change, current dispersal theories and the peopling of Australia.

Sue O’Connor describes the different rock art sites and occupation sites in the Kimberley, while David Welch focuses specifically on the Bradshaw Figures.

And finally, Philip Playford explores the aboriginal rock art in the limestone ranges of the West Kimberley: Geike Gorge, Wandjina Gorge; and Tunnel Creek, another area we visited in 2008. Again, beautiful photos and an excellent record of the rock art of the Kimberley region.BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (609)Mike Donaldson has since published a three-volume series on the prolific rock art of the Kimberley :

Kimberley Rock Art -Volume One: Mitchell Plateau Area,  released in April 2012;
Kimberley Rock Art -Volume Two: North Kimberley,  released in October 2012;
Kimberley Rock Art -Volume Three: Rivers and Ranges , released in April 2013.

See: http://www.wildrocks.com.au/ for details.

Mike Donaldson has also produced a lovely book on the rock engravings of the Burrup Peninsula:

Burrup Rock Art : Ancient Aboriginal Rock Art of  Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago by Mike Donaldson 2010

See: http://www.wildrocks.com.au/publications/burrup-rock-art-book/.

I would love to see this book one day, as we were so impressed with these ancient petroglyphs, of which there are over 10 000, up to 25 000 years old, at Deep Gorge, near Karratha, Western Australia, and so little is known about them.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_1430 When we first started looking, all we could see were huge mullock heaps of red rock, but once you have spotted the first engraving, they suddenly become obvious, covering most of the rocks and depicting animals, birds, marine animals, geometric symbols and strange looking figures.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_1406 Here are some more useful websites:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/burrup-peninsula-rock-art-shows-extinct-megafauna/6561788

https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/publications/archaeology-and-rock-art-in-the-dampier-archipelago/    and

http://rockart.net.au/Burrup.htm.

Rock Paintings of Aboriginal Australia by Elaine Godden and Jutta Malnic 2008

Another terrific publication on aboriginal art work throughout Australia and the stories behind the paintings. It discusses the materials and techniques used and their deterioration and conservation. It then focuses on a few specific areas: The Kimberleys, Cape York, Arnhem Land and the Central Australian Deserts, with superb photographs of the art work throughout.

BlogPreHxBooksReszd20%Image (608)

 Journey in Time: The 50 000 Year Story of the Australian Aboriginal Rock Art of Arnhem Land by George Chaloupka 1999

This book explores the 50 000 years of Australian Aboriginal rock art of Arnhem Land: its depth and complexity, aesthetic achievements and the life of its creators. This fabulous book is so comprehensive and has wonderful photos.

The introduction starts with a world perspective and a description of :

Rock art in Australia ;

Rock art dating;

Arnhem Land Galleries;

The Land Gulbok:  its physical characteristics and climate;

The People: their totemism, language groups and clan territories; and

Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories and mythology, illustrated by examples of the artwork.

There is a large section on the rock art sites; the materials and techniques used; the aboriginal view of the art; a non-aboriginal sequence of the rock art; and

The different art styles and periods:

Pre-Estuarine : 50 000 to 8000 year ago:

Object imprints;

Large Naturalistic Figures Complex: Large naturalistic human figures and large naturalistic animals, including a thylacine (photo), a long-beaked echidna and a tapir-like Palorchestes, now extinct, and a Tasmanian devil, no longer found on the mainland;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5423Early X-Ray paintings;

Dynamic Figures;

Post-Dynamic Figures: Progressively stylised artwork representing boomerangs, fighting picks, spears and spear throwers, and yam figures.

2.Estuarine : 8 000 to 1500 years ago:

Early Estuarine Paintings;

Beeswax Designs;

X-Ray Art Complex: Humans and animals: fish; crustaceans; fishing spirits.

3.Freshwater Period : 1500 years ago to present day: Paintings of the contact period between aborigines and visitors:

Makassan fisherman from Sulawesi, Indonesia;

European explorers eg Ludwig Leichhardt; the riders and horses of the McKinley Frieze; and paintings of guns and a two-masted lugger.

Chinese gold diggers;

Buffalo shooters; and

Sorcery paintings.

Finally, there is a discussion of :

Particular motifs and themes: East Alligator Figures; Powerful Women; Human Sexuality; Dismembered Bodies; Dilly Bags and String Bags; Crocodiles; Turtles; and Ceremonies;  and

Other art forms: Stencilling; Rock Engraving; Earth Art; and Stone Arrangements.

It finishes with appendices of neighbouring rock art (Kimberleys and Papua New Guinea); and a list of international rock art sites.

Given these unique and priceless art sites are outside and vulnerable to deterioration and damage, these books are so important as a record of the wonderful ancient legacy of Australia’s original inhabitants.

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For more information about Australian rock art, another book, which we don’t have in our library, but is a classic in the field is:  Visions From the Past: The Archaeology of Australian Aboriginal Art by Mike Morwood, an archaeologist, renowned for his knowledge of Aboriginal Art. See:

https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/academic-professional/archaeology/Visions-from-the-Past-MJ-Morwood-9781864487176.

Australia’s Living History: Arts of the Dreaming by Jennifer Isaacs 2002

Another fabulous book, which celebrates the diversity and richness of aboriginal culture, art work and oral traditions and covers a very broad range of artistic expression.

After a look at the regional variations in cultural expression, a wide variety of aboriginal art is discussed:

Body Adornment and Ornamentation;

Ceremony and Dance;

Fibre Crafts: Spinning and natural dyeing; Basket making; String bags and nets;

Rock Engravings and Paintings: Techniques; Styles; and Regional Examples;

Bark Painting;

Papunya Painting of the Desert;

Contemporary Works on Canvas;

Carved Weapons and Utensils;

Sculptures;  and

Future Directions for Aboriginal Art.

In the back is an appendix titled the Antiquity of Aboriginal Art.

BlogPreHxBooksReszd20%Image (606)

My final book is also edited and compiled by this knowledgeable lady:

Australia Dreaming : 40 000 years of Aboriginal History Edited by Jennifer Isaacs 2005

For aboriginal peoples, their artwork is a proud expression of their heritage and mythology, the stories of the Dreaming, the subject of this lavish book. This first aboriginal history of Australia and its people is told through the traditional myths and legends of over 40 aboriginal storytellers from a wide cross-section of communities and areas, showing regional variations in the beliefs of different aboriginal groups.

The stories are accompanied by beautiful photos of the land, people and artwork and are divided up into different themes:

The Reality of Myth: Arrival of the First Australians and their way of Life; Megafauna;  Rising Seas; and Volcanoes;

The Creation Era: Desert Ancestors and the Creation of the Desert Tors; the Origin of Lake Eyre; the Nullabor Plain; The Sky-Heroes of South Eastern Australia; The Earth Mother; the Great Serpents; the Wandjina; and the Creation Ancestors of NE Arnhem Land and North-Eastern Australia;

The Great Journeys: that of the Zebra Finch; and the Kangaroo and Euro;

Earth, Fire and Water;

Seasons: Lightning; Thunder; and Clouds;

Sun, Moon and Stars;

Cycle of Life: Men and Women; Birth of the Tribes; Early Years; Passage to Adulthood; Hunting and Food Gathering;

Death and the Spirit World;

Designs from the Dreaming;

The Visitors: Baiini; Macassans; and the Badu Islanders; and

The Invaders: First encounters with White Men; Violence; Spread of Disease; Vengeance of the Spirit Ancestors; and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

As my last book in my post, it is very fitting that aboriginal people should have the final word on their own prehistory!

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Next week is the third and final post on history books in our library, covering the time since written records.

Sumptuous Centifolias and Mosses

The final group of Old European Roses to be discussed, the heavy, globular, cupped, once-flowering fragrant blooms of the Centifolia Rose make it the quintessential Old Rose! They have been portrayed in art, textiles, wallpaper, postcards, decorative papers, furniture…the list is endless! Please note: The first four photos of this post are courtesy of Pixabay (https://pixabay.com). vintage-1077954_1280R. x centifolia, also known as the 100-petalled Rose or the Cabbage Rose, was once thought to be a species, but DNA studies have revealed that it is a complex hybrid, whose genetic background includes genes of R. gallica; R. phoenicia; R. moschata; R. canina and R. damascena. It first appeared in the late 16th century and over 200 varieties (including the mosses) were bred in the period between 1600 and 1800, only 22 varieties of Centifolias now commonly available. victorian-christmas-1834247_1280 They were much featured in Dutch and Flemish still-life paintings of the time (http://scvrs.homestead.com/roseart2.html), as well as later works by Renoir and Van Gogh, hence two more titles: the Holland Rose and Rose des Peintures. See: http://scvrs.homestead.com/RosesInArt3.html. painting-1654823_1280 It is also the rose featured in Victorian wallpapers, textiles, curtains, chintz sofas and tapestry bags. The first photo is a decorative paper, based on a textile printing pattern from the 1880s to the 1920s. BlogCentifoliasReszd20%IMG_0307fabric-1325745_1280BlogCentifoliasReszd20%IMG_0308 Its commercial production in Morocco and France to produce rose oil for the perfumery industry, especially in the area around Grasse, has given it its final name, the Provence Rose. There is even a special annual Rose Festival for Centifolia roses in Grasse. See: http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2015-04-05/french-town-has-the-worlds-best-roses-grasse and http://www.villadesparfums.com/grasse-rose-festival-8-10-may-2015/. This year’s festival is from the 12th to the 14th May 2017. See: http://www.frenchriviera-tourism.com/CALENDAR/expo-rose-grasse-N4fiche_FMAPAC0060000119-rub_103.html. It is also possible to visit a Centifolia rose farm at Domaine de Manon, Plascassier, near Grasse. See: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/grasse/attractions/domaine-de-manon/a/poi-sig/1025273/359254 and http://www.le-domaine-de-manon.com/index-page=the-centifolia-rose.php.html. The fragrant petals of these beautiful May roses are also used to make potpourri. BlogCentifoliasReszd2014-10-19 13.11.08Centifolias have produced a number of different variants or sports (mutations), including Moss Roses; dwarf Centifolias and striped and spotted varieties of Centifolias. In R. x centifolia muscosa, a mutation of the glands has produced a thick covering of green or reddish-brown , resinous hairs (moss) on the stems, buds and sepals. The moss covering is very sticky and balsam-scented. This unusual feature made them very popular with Victorian gardeners, who loved anything different or exotic. Victorian catalogues listed 30 to 40 varieties of Moss Roses. More later…

Description :

Centifolias are lax, open shrubs, 1.5 metres to 2 metres tall, with long, drooping, very thorny canes, which bow under the weight of the blooms. They need lots of room to spread out, though can benefit from staking or training.

Their large, rounded, drooping, coarse, grey-green pinnate leaves have 5 to 7 leaflets.

The flowers are very distinctive- huge globular deeply-cupped flowers (up to 10.2 cm wide), made up of numerous tissue-thin, overlapping, tightly-packed petals. Usually pink, with some whites, a few dark red-purples and lavender-violets (eg Tour de Malakoff) and a few spotted or striped varieties, the once-flowering blooms are highly fragrant with a distinctive Centifolia fragrance (clean and sweet with a hint of honey) and their abundance makes a wonderful display in Summer.The hips are insignificant.BlogCentifoliasReszd2014-10-19 13.11.30 Centifolias are extremely hardy and require little pruning, except the removal of very old wood after flowering. They can be shortened by 1/3 growth in late Winter. They like full sun and plenty of space and air circulation to prevent mildew and black spot. There are some dwarf hybrids, which are more dense and upright,  with smaller leaves and flowers.

R. x centifolia is a graceful, lax, open shrub, 1.8 metres tall and 1.5 metres wide with large coarse leaves and 7.6 cm wide very double, heavy, highly fragrant, deep pink globular blooms, borne singly or in small clusters on long stems. See the last two photos, as well as the photo of the shrub below.BlogCentifoliasReszd2014-10-19 13.10.59Fantin Latour: Named after the French artist and well known rose painter, Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), this rose has an unknown lineage. It is a well-formed shrub, 1.5 metres tall and 1.2 metres wide, with almost smooth, arching canes and smoother, rounder, dark green leaves. It grows well in a bed or border and has a relatively short blooming period in late Spring. On either side of the entrance arch to our harp-shaped herb garden in Armidale, we grew two specimens, from which we took cuttings for our new Candelo garden, where it is growing on the shed fence next to Bourbon rose, Mme Isaac Pereire.

BlogCentifoliasReszd50%Image (225)BlogCentifoliasReszd50%Image (226) It produces large clusters of very double, cupped, delicately-fragrant, pale blush pink blooms, 5 to 7.6 cm wide, which flatten out with a swirl of petals and a button eye. It is very hardy with moderate disease-resistance.BlogCentifoliasReszd50%Image (185)Sports of the Centifolia roses include :

R. x centifolia bullata is another sport, with fewer thorns and very large crinkly leaves, hence its name the Lettuce-leaved Rose; and

R. x centifolia variegata or Village Maid, a striped variant;

Rose de Meaux, a miniature Centifolia, 60 cm high and wide, with tiny foliage and tiny 3.8 cm multi-petalled, rosy-pink dianthus-like blooms;  There is also a white form.

And  the Moss Roses with a wide range of sizes, habits and colours from white to rose-red, due to their mixed breeding. Hybridization with crimson Chinas over the years has produced some deep crimson mosses, a colour lacking in their Centifolia parents, as well as some slight repeat-blooming. Today, there are 32 types commonly available, though Peter Beales lists 52 different types.

Nuits de Young has dark mossing; very dark maroon-purple, highly fragrant blooms and a tendency to sucker and spread.BlogCentifoliasReszd20%IMG_9722Mme Louis Lévêque is a small upright shrub 1.2 metres tall and 90 cm wide, with long, pointed, bright green leaves and bright pink mossy buds, which open to 10 cm large, soft warm pink, full cupped, silky  flowers, which fade to a lighter pink. There is some repeat flowering later in the season. Unfortunately, the buds ball (do not open) in wet weather.

Alfred de Dalmas, also known as Mousseline, 1855, is another repeat-blooming moss with a short tidy growth (90 cm tall and 60 cm wide) and was bred from the Portland Damasks. It blooms continuously from Summer to late Autumn with creamy-pink, semi-double scented flowers.

Chapeau de Napoléon, the most famous Moss of all! Found on a convent wall in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1820, R. x centifolia cristata, also known as the Crested Moss, was introduced to commerce by Vibert.BlogCentifoliasReszd2014-11-22 14.26.37 Identical to R. centifolia, except for the mossy growth on the sepals, it is a tidy medium shrub 1.5 metres tall and 1.2 metres wide, which blooms only once in Summer, but over an extended period, lasting  several weeks. The heavily mossed, feathery looking buds have extended calyces, giving them the appearance of Napoléon’s cocked tricorn hat, hence its name.BlogCentifoliasReszd50%Image (172) The buds open to fully double deep silvery pink, highly fragrant  cabbage like blooms. It is moderately vigorous and disease-resistant, but may require some support.BlogCentifoliasReszd50%Image (173)With the introduction of China Roses from the East to Europe, rose breeding started in earnest and there was literally an explosion in the number of different rose varieties available to the Victorian gardener. Next month, we will look at China Roses in detail and the reason they caused such excitement and made such an impact in the Western world.

Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part One: Inspiring Books and Garden Travel Books

As the growing season slows down and we head towards the cooler weather, it is lovely to know that we have some beautiful, dreamy and inspirational books to browse by the fire in Winter! As editor, Ferris Cook, writes on page 12 in the foreword to his book, ‘Invitation to the Garden’, the first book featured below : ‘ Like so many other gardeners separated from their gardens by darkness, miles or inclement weather, I love to read about other gardens when I can’t be in mine’. I have divided these books into four sections :

  • Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general
  • General garden travel books
  • Books about specific gardens
  • Books about specific plants

And once again, this post is too long – too many wonderful books and too much to say about them! – so I have divided it into three posts : Part One on beautiful garden publications and general garden travel books (today); Part Two on specific overseas gardens (May); and Part Three on books about Australian gardens and specific plants (June).

Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general

Invitation to the Garden: A Celebration in Literature and Photography, edited by Ferris Cook 1992

The perfect title to start a post on garden books and it certainly lives up to the claim of its subtitle, as well as its reputation! Indeed, it was the winner of the 1992 Award for Excellence in Garden Communication from the Garden Writers’ Association of America. Divided into seasons, it is a wonderful read, which can be dipped into at random, always finding an interesting snippet or pertinent quote, poem or prose and always accompanied by the most beautiful sumptuous photos by specialist garden photographers: Ping Amranand; Ken Druse; Richard Felber; Mick Hales; Harry Haralambou; Peter C. Jones; Peter Margonelli; Hugh Palmer; and Curtice Taylor.

A good example is the very first entry in Spring, ‘Down the Garden Path’ by Beverley Nichols, in which she describes that familiar daily habit of all gardeners, ‘Making the Tour’, involving a detailed examination of every square inch of the garden and noting all new discoveries and happenings! In reality, I probably do this at least three or four times a day!!!

There are poems by Homer and Shakespeare; John Donne and Robert Herrick; the three Williams (excluding Shakespeare, as he was so much earlier!) : William Cowper, William Blake and William Wordsworth; Matthew Arnold and Emily Dickinson; two Roberts :  Robert Bridges and Robert Frost; A A Milne and Virginia Woolf; Rainer Maria Rilke and William Carlos Williams (that’s two more Williams in one!!); Pablo Neruda; W H Auden; Sylvia Plath; and e e cummings; and that’s only a fraction of them!

There are also excerpts by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Old Manse); Ivan Turgenev (The Rose); Lewis Carroll (The Garden of Live Flowers); William Morris (Collected Letters: Kelmscott); Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden); Edith Wharton (Italian Garden Magic); E A Bowles (The Passing of Summer); H G Wells (The Flowering of the Strange Orchid); Colette (The Ways of Wisteria; and Hellebores); John Steinbeck (The Chrysanthemums); and Laurie Lee (Segovia-Madrid), again only a small selection of the entries! Hopefully, the titles are enough to entice you to search out this book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (430)

The Illustrated Virago Book of Women Gardeners, edited by Deborah Kellaway 1997

An equally delightful coffee-table book to be enjoyed at leisure! Illustrated with beautiful artwork and superb photographs throughout, this anthology of musings by women garden writers is divided (for easy reference) into chapters, titled : Weeders and Diggers; Advisers and Designers; Plantswomen; Colourists; Countrywomen; Townswomen; Visitors and Travellers; Kitchen Gardeners; Flower Arrangers and Visionaries. Its writers represent a ‘Who’s Who’ of the gardening world with names like Gertrude Jekyll;  Alicia Amherst, Elizabeth von Arnim, Norah Lindsay, Beatrix Farrand, Constance Spry, Vita Sackville-West, Margery Fish, Edna Walling, Beth Chatto, Penelope Hobhouse, Rosemary Verey, Nancy Steen, Mary Keen, Valerie Finnis, Ursula Buchan, Joy Larkcom, Jane Taylor and Mirabel Osler, but there are so many other authors!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (432)Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse and Ellen Hoverkamp  2012

I loved both the first two books equally well, but I ADORED this book! This would have to be the mosr beautiful book I have ever seen ! Every page is such a visual treat and showcases all the incredible treasures our Earth holds and their infinite diversity of colour, form, texture and function! Absolutely stunning photography, both of beautiful gardens and separate plant combinations, presented dramatically against a black background in the style of a combination of 1920s and 1930s American photographer, Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) (https://www.imogencunningham.com/plants/) and English botanical collage artist, Mrs. Mary Delany, whose beautiful paper collages can be seen at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany. While I knew the work of Mary Delany, which inspired my floral collage cards (see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/), I did not know of Imogen Cunningham, but have fallen in love with all her work, from plant studies and still lifes to portraits and romantic family shots; the beauty of the human body (nudes; dancers) and her street scenes and landscapes. I particularly loved her photographs of the stunning architectural blooms of the Bull Bay Magnolia (Magnolia Blossom 1925 and Magnolia Blossom, Tower of Jewels, 1925), as can be seen in the above link.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (455)

Ellen creates her floral photographs, using a flatbed scanner and produces images of unparalleled depth, colour and beauty. I found it impossible to select a favourite plate to show you, but here are some examples:

There are over 100 species botanical images of plants, which bloom simultaneously and compliment each other perfectly. They are organized by theme: seasons; plant families; form and function; colour; place (eg woods; open spaces; damp areas; rocky sites) and purpose (eg fragrance; butterflies; edible flowers; secret; literary; boxed; health and beauty; art; and nighttime). It is such a beautiful book and a lovely one to dip into whenever you get a chance! I cannot recommend it highly enough! Appendices include a list of edible flowers and flower meanings.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd60%Image (463)The Language of Flowers: a Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh  2011

A totally different book, both to the previous three coffee-table books, this one being a first-time novel, but also refreshingly original in concept and style. Based on the Victorian language of flowers, a compendium of which is included in the back of the book, this novel is written in first person, following the life of Victoria, an ex-foster child and florist and exploring complex themes like maternal love, forgiveness and redemption. Being a flower arranger, I was instantly attracted to this book and once started, I could not put it down! It is so easy to read and so hard to put down!  Plus, I have used the flower dictionary constantly, when making my floral collage cards for friends and family.

BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd40%Image (450) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0499BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0501Seasons at Home: Food, Family, Friends and Style by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2011

Another lovely offering from Holly Kerr Forsyth with her trademark style of seasonal projects and delicious recipes and preserves. I have given friends copies of some of her other books: Country Gardens, Country Hospitality and Seasons in My House and Garden: see http://www.hollyforsyth.com.au/shop/books.html  ;  https://www.bookdepository.com/Seasons-My-House-Garden-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522857825 and https://www.bookdepository.com/Country-Gardens-Country-Hospitality-Visit-Australias-Best-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522864793.

Both are beautiful books, which I would love to own one day, but in the meantime, I am enjoying this smaller book: Seasons at Home! While this book would fit equally well into my cookery book post later in the year, I have included it here because of its gardening and flower arranging content. Her photographs, styling and interiors are so beautiful and inspiring, how could I do otherwise!! Also, this book is a perfect lead-in to the next section with the first book also written by this knowledgeable lady!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (433)

 General Garden Travel Books

Gardens of Eden: Among the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2009

A Christmas present in 2012, when I was studying garden design at Burnley, this beautiful book covers fifty of the world’s most beautiful and famous gardens. Lavishly illustrated with over 500 photos, the gardens are divided into chapters titled : Lessons in Garden History; A Sense of Place; The Designer in the Garden; The Gardens of Politicians, Writers, Artists and Collectors; Clipped Perfection; Grand Passions and Private Pleasures; Water Delights; and Places to Pray or Play In. They span different historical periods, garden styles and cultures from the Paradise Gardens of Ancient Persia to the romantic rose-covered ruins of Ninfa and the Italian Renaissance gardens in Italy; the wildflower meadows of William Robinson’s Gravetye Manor to the Arts and Crafts gardening style of Gertrude Jekyll-Edwin Lutyens (Upton Grey and Hestercombe) in England and Beatrix Farrand’s Dumbarton Oaks in the United States of America; the famous gardens of Sissinghurst Castle (UK), Le Canadel (France) and the island gardens of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and La Mortella (Italy); and  the Buddhist-inspired gardens of China and Japan, not to mention Australian country gardens like Bentley (Tasmania), Jack’s Ridge (Victoria) and Nooroo, Bebeah and the Berman Gardens (NSW). A wonderful book for armchair travel and research for your next garden adventure!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (435)A Photographic Garden History by Roger Phillips and Nicky Foy 1995

For a more in-depth look at garden history, predominantly through photographs! This book is organized into three main sections. The first part covers the European Tradition, starting with Roman peristyle gardens and moving chronologically from Islamic influences to Italian Renaissance gardens; the French Formal movement and the romantic/ potager style in France; the Baroque German and Dutch gardens; and the British medieval gardens to the English Landscape movement; Victorian and Edwardian gardens and natural gardening styles. The second section focuses on Chinese gardens, while the third section explores Japanese gardens. The text is backed up with featured gardens with specific details and notes on their date and features, as well as their place and importance within the particular historical background. Throughout the book are topics of pertinent interest to the time period or garden style, covering a broad range of subjects from garden elements (potagers; parterres and carpet bedding; topiary and mazes; rockeries; water features (lakes; ponds and pools; waterfalls and fountains); the concept of garden rooms and borrowed landscapes; and specific gardens for roses, natives and Autumn foliage colour) to garden structures (garden buildings and furniture; arbours and arches; follies and grottoes; steps and staircases; gates and fences; and even ha-ha walls) and decorative techniques (trompe l’oeil; shellwork; mosaics; sculptures; and pots and urns). I initially borrowed this book from the library, but found it to be so comprehensive and interesting that I just had to order it for my horticultural library!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (436)

The Gardens of Europe, edited by Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor 1990

Edited by garden writing doyens, Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor, this book focuses on 700 European gardens, open to the public, from the Mediterranean gardens of Southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal); the cooler, more temperate gardens of Northern Europe (Great Britain and Ireland; Belgium; Holland and Scandinavia); and the gardens of Central Europe (Austria, Switzerland and West Germany) and the Balkans, East Europe and Russia (Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Greece; Hungary; Poland; Romania; European Russia; Turkey and the then, Yugoslavia). Even though this is quite an old book now and the details of opening hours and admission charges might be out-of-date, the basic information about its history, general design and prominent features is still relevant and is a starting point for further up-to-date research. There is a biographical list or principal architects, garden designers and gardeners in the back, as well as a glossary and bibliography of further books (guide books and history) to read.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (437)

Gardens of Persia by Penelope Hobhouse 2006

I have always loved the underlying concepts of the Islamic garden : an enclosed protected paradise with a quadripartite layout (a four-fold pattern called chahar bagh) and watercourses forming the principal and secondary axes, all meeting at a central pool or pavilion and representing the four rivers of life. They are full of colourful flowers and bulbs, shady fruit trees and birdsong; a place for contemplation and spiritual nourishment; and a little oasis in a challenging hot and dry climate, the latter, which I suspect will be increasingly valued in our Western world with the increasing temperatures and prevalence of drought with climate change. In this book, Penelope explores these notions, as well as the elements and history of Islamic garden design; the climate and environment; flowers and trees planted and of course, the spiritual dimension. Throughout the book, she provides many examples of Islamic gardens from Cyrus the Great’s garden at Pasargadae 2,500 years ago, Timur’s gardens at Samarkand (late 1300s); his son Shah Rokh’s gardens at Herat (1400s); and Bagh-e-Fin (1504) and other Safavid gardens to the 18th century gardens of Shiraz, ‘city of roses and nightingagles, cypresses and wine, and poetry and painted miniatures’: Bagh-e-Eram (Garden of Heaven); Bagh-e Golshan (1760s); and Bagh-e Shahzadeh (Prince’s Garden 1880s); the Mostoufi Garden, Tehran, 1930s; the geometric Moorish gardens of Southern Spain like the Generalife and the Mughal gardens of Northern India and Kashmir. All, of course, accompanied by beautiful Islamic architecture! In the back, notes on each garden for travellers, lists of the royal houses of Persia and Persian plants and a glossary of Persian terms. A very interesting and informative book, as well as a feast for the eyes! Readers, who want more information on Islamic Gardens may be interested in these links : http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/24/take-the-ancient-silk-road-to-a-2500-year-old-garden/ and http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/23/berber-home-and-garden-morocco/.

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The Secret Gardens of France by Mirabel Osler 1992

I have already briefly mentioned this book in my post on Favourite Rose Books (see: https://candeloblooms.com/category/rose-books/), as it described one of my favourite bucket-list French rose gardens, La Bonne Maison, as well as the roses of André Eve. However, it discusses 18 other gardens in France from productive potagers to medieval herb gardens; Nicole de Vesian’s architectural topiaried balls of lavender and rosemary in the Luberon to a coastal garden in Brittany; and another bucket-list garden, Le Jardin des Cinq Sens at Chateau d’Yvoire on the shores of Lac Leman. Mirabel has a lovely writing style- very chatty, enthusiastic and inclusive- and all the gardeners featured are very inspiring! While many of the gardens are private and not open to the public, this book is a lovely read with a wealth of ideas and information.

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Kitchen Gardens of France by Louisa Jones 1997

I would love to do a garden tour with Louisa Jones (see: http://www.louisajones.fr/) !!! While she has written many books on the gardens of Provence and the French Riviera, this particular book is about French kitchen gardens. She examines Heritage Gardens (medieval plots; renaissance gardens; potagers and heirloom vegetables ); Grassroots Gardening (from country potagers in the Ardeche to village greens and community gardens; city allotments in Paris and hortillinages (floating islands) in Amiens; and Hmong gardens at Alençon in Normandy); Dream and Utopian Paradises (the jardin de curé style; Rousseau’s orchard-garden; Pigeard’s mystic metalwork; photographer, Denis Brihat’s alchemist workshop in Provence and another bucket-list garden, the organic  garden of Terre Vivante in the Domaine de Raud in the Alps); and Vegetable Graces (gastronomic  creations and designer visions; Gilles Clement’s moving potager; and future fashions). This last chapter has an in-depth look at the Gardens For the Five Senses, mentioned in Mirabel Osler’s book. The text is supported by many showcase gardens and beautiful seductive photographs. It is such a dreamy inspirational book! Details about each garden featured can be found in the back. For more ideas about gardens to visit, it is worth consulting Louisa’s blog (http://www.louisajones.fr/blog/index) and Links pages (http://www.louisajones.fr/links).

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The French Country Garden by Louisa Jones 2000/ 2005

A very recent addition to my library and a wonderful find! Thank you, Denise! I was delighted to add this book to my library, as it discusses many French gardeners and their gardens, whose names I knew, but were not necessarily covered by my other books like Nicole Arboireau on the French Riviera; Doudou Bayol in Provence (what an amazing sense of colour!); Martine and Francois Lemonnier, who have the National Collection Label (CCVS) for Meconopsis and Hellebores, in Normandy; Mme Marie-Joseph Teillard in the foothills of the Pyrenees; Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières at Cordes-sur-Ciel; Eléonore Cruse at La Roseraie de Berty in the Ardèche; as well as old favourites like Alain Richert of the Garden of the Five Senses, Yvoire; Nicole de Vésian in Provence; Gilles Clément of the Centre Terre Vivante at the Domaine de Raud and the different biomes of Le Domaine du Rayol. These gardens and more are discussed in depth in her chapters, each featuring three gardens, and titled : Intimate Country Gardens; A Passion for Plants; Celebration of the Senses; Formal Play; Nature’s Ways; and Planetary Perspectives. The photos again are superb and complement the text perfectly. Another beautiful book to browse…!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (543)Great Gardens of Britain by Helena Attlee 2011

A lovely book about 20 wonderful gardens in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. A difficult task selecting only twenty garden, but those chosen celebrate their diversity in garden styles, plants, settings and history. This is a wonderful guide with beautiful glossy photos and is essential reading for those planning a garden trip to Great Britain. Inspired and informed by this very book, I would love to visit Charles Jenck’s earthworks and waveforms at his Garden of Cosmic Speculation on the one day of the year it is open !; Ian Hamilton Finlay’s concrete poetry at Little Sparta; the famous topiary at Levens Hall; Scampton’s perennial naturalistic meadow, designed by Piet Oudolf; the rhododendrons and five terraces of Bodnant, North Wales, including its famous Laburnum Arch; the lakes and classical temples of Stourhead; Lawrence Johnston’s garden rooms at Hidcote Manor; Christopher Lloyd’s herbaceous borders of Great Dixter; the restored gardens of the East Ruston Old Vicarage and Beth Chatto’s gravel gardens; the holy grail of old rose gardens, Sissinghurst Castle, made famous by Vita Sackville-West, with its garden rooms and  white garden; the extensive plant collections, trial gardens and scientific research laboratories of Wisley, the home and flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society; the futuristic environmentally-controlled geodesic domes of the Eden Project, the brain child of Tim Smit;  and the unlikely Mediterranean-style gardens of Tresco Abbey in the warmer climes of the remote Scilly Isles in the English Channel. Addresses and websites for all the gardens are listed in the back. We have already visited Kew Gardens twice, but it is such a wonderful garden, that I would always include it whenever I visit England and I would really like to see the Marianne North Gallery, which is devoted solely to the wonderful paintings of this amazing Victorian botanical artist and explorer. See: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/explore/attractions/marianne-north-gallery and http://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html, specifically: http://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/index.html.

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For those of us who may not travel overseas again, this form of armchair travel is a wonderful alternative! This book explored many gardens, not covered in the other books. Another book that I would love to find is Around the World in 80 Gardens by Monty Don, see : https://www.bookdepository.com/Around-World-80-Gardens-Monty-Don/9780297844501, as I really enjoy his films, but fortunately the film version of his book can be seen on YouTube. For Episode 1, see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uityVe6OkCk. For a guide to the episodes, see : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008x9bh/episodes/guide.

Garden Guides and Garden Design Books

A comprehensive garden library is essential for planning and designing a garden and a wonderful way to pass a Winter evening, when the Spring seems such a long way away! Here are some of the books in my library, but please note this is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some of my favourites that I tend to read constantly!

1.Garden Reference Guides

First up, the  Garden Plant Series by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.

I have already mentioned their book on Roses (1994) in my previous garden book post, but they have also compiled books on Bulbs (over 1000 types) 1981; Shrubs (over 1900 types) 1989; and Perennials (Over 1250 plants in two volumes) : Volume 1: Early Perennials and Volume 2: Late Perennials 1994.

While both authors are British, they do include plants from all over the world, including Australia. Their introduction includes brief notes on plant history and origins in the wild; their use in the garden; propagation, planting, cultivation and pruning notes; and pests and diseases, as well as full colour photographs of all the species of a particular plant type. Each book starts with plants which flower in Winter and then progresses through the seasonal cycle.

Martyn and Roger have also produced a set of mini-guides: The Best Scented Plants (over 200 types); Plants for Shade (over 250 plants); Traditional Old Roses; and Climbers for Walls and Arbours – all published by Pan in 1998 and all a delightful read!

Martyn Rix also wrote the Kew Subtropical and Dry Climate Guide in 2006, a book which will become increasingly important with the rising temperatures and droughts, associated with climate change. It has an excellent plant directory of trees, shrubs and climbers, perennials and annuals, bulbs and cacti and succulents from Mediterranean regions, South Africa, California and Mexico, China and India and Australia and New Zealand, all with low water requirements. Each entry lists different species in the family, their origin and use, height and spread specifications and notes about their cultivation, drought tolerance and hardiness and humidity requirements, as well as having lovely photos. I will be discussing some other excellent books on this subject in my post : Specific Types of Gardens: Part Two next month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-346

The Essential Plant Guide: Every Plant Guide You Need For Your Garden (For Australian and New Zealand Gardens) 2013  is a real door stopper of a book with chapters on Trees; Shrubs; Annuals and Perennials, Grasses, Sedges and Bamboos; Fruit and Nut Trees; Bulbs, Corms and Tubers; Cacti and Succulents! Each chapter is alphabetically organized according to genus name with descriptions, photographs and cultivation notes and top tips and a table of favourite varieties with details of colour, fragrance, height and width, blooming season, hardiness zone and frost tolerance. It includes an illustrated  guide to fruit and leaf types to make description easier.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-337

Australian Gardening Encyclopaedia by Random House 1998 is a similar book with a hardiness zone map and notes on garden design, basic design principles, planting and maintenance techniques and pests and diseases. It covers similar categories of plants, as well as Vegetables and Herbs; Ferns, Palms and Cycads; Lawns and Ground Covers, Climbers and Creepers and even Orchids, again organized by genus name. At the back is an alphabetically – ordered Reference Table, detailing growth, form and use; hardiness zone; type of foliage (deciduous or evergreen); height and width; chief attraction; flowering time and special comments about each plant. The entries are shorter, but there are probably more plants covered.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-338

The Royal Horticultural Society Garden Plants and Flowers in Australia by Ian Spence 2009 is a slightly smaller tome, but equally valuable as a reference guide. Each section starts with notes about the plant type throughout the year, with a series of photos for each season with their page number for easy reference. Chapters include : Trees and Shrubs – the backbone to the garden; Climbing Plants – the vertical element; Flowering Plants – for colour and fragrance; and Bamboos, Grasses and Ferns –  for foliage, background colour, texture and year-round interest. There is also a chapter on Planting and Caring for Plants and very useful lists of suitable plants for particular areas like exposed sites; seaside gardens; dry sun; damp shade; dry shade; deep shade; acid soils; chalky alkaline soils; rock gardens; bog gardens and sloping sites;  or particular needs, like ornamental herbs and fragrant plants.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-339From the Ground Up: A Complete Guide For Victorian Gardeners by Jane Edmanson 2009 : I bought this book, while we were living in Victoria, but found it to be a very useful guide in Southern New South Wales as well. As a long-term Victorian presenter for ABC’s Gardening Australia, Jane really knows her subject and is a mine of information on gardening in Victoria. She discusses the Victorian climate and soils in depth, including ways of improving the soil, different types of compost and fertilizers; watering and mulching; propagation techniques and transplanting seedlings; pruning; and garden design. Then, there are the chapters on Australian natives; exotic species for sun, shade and colour; the productive garden;  potted plants; lawns; pests and diseases; weeds and a gardening calendar of garden tasks for each month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-345Another self-professed Australian botanical bible is The Constant Gardener by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2007. Holly has written a large number of articles about gardening for The Australian, as well as many beautiful books with sumptuous photography. I love her books, some of which I will describe in a later post on dreamy inspirational gardening books, but this one definitely belongs here!

Part One covers the Australian seasons, landscapes and environmental concerns, including global warming, drought, increasing salinity and the threat of feral weeds (as well as possible management strategies and sustainable practices). In Part Two, Holly  discusses some of her favourite plants, which I also adore. She includes a description of her favourite varieties, their use in the garden, planting, requirements and care and the odd anecdote and recipe, as is typical of her style.

Part Three covers grouped garden elements: borders, edgings and ground-covers; lawns and grasses; hedges and climbers; trees, conifers and shrubs; native plants; succulents and tropical plants; and  fruit, herbs and spices; while Part Four gets down to the nitty-gritty of maintaining a healthy garden with chapters on soil and fertilizers; compost and mulch; propagation, pruning and transplanting; and pests, diseases and weeds.

Part Five covers garden design; colour and scent and plants for shady areas.  In Part Six, Holly looks at garden structures; gardening in small spaces; hardscaping: paths and paving, steps; edgings and seats; fences and walls; entrances and gates; supports and structures; lighting; pots; sculptures; water features and flower arranging. And finally, she takes us on a Cook’s Tour of all her favourite types of gardens throughout the world, including Chinese and Japanese gardens; foliage gardens; vegetable gardens; community gardens; mazes, knots and parterres; meadow gardens; rose gardens; native gardens; seaside gardens and water-wise gardens- all with lovely photos and examples. At the back of the book, she includes contact details for many of the gardens cited throughout the book. It’s a lovely book to dip into at random and I highly recommend it!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-361

Garden Shrubs and Trees in Colour by Eigel Kiaer 1959 is a delightful little hardback gem, which I picked up in a second-hand book sale. While there are descriptive notes in the back of the book, I adore its quirky little colour plates with numbered illustrations of each species and tiny black-and-white sketches of the gardener going about his chores and the tree in relation to house height. The gardener always has a pipe in his mouth and is engaged in various activities from lawn mowing to raking, pushing a wheelbarrow, digging and watering and just admiring the view!

bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-344-copybloggardendesignbksreszd30image-376Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon 1990 A basic knowledge of botany is invaluable to the gardener for an understanding of plant requirements and correct maintenance for optimal growth. This excellent little book has very clear explanations and covers :

Plant anatomy, right down to cell structure, and that of seeds, roots, shoots, and  stems;

Adaptation mechanisms for protection and fulfilment of basic needs including: competition between plants; reaching for the sun; climbing structures; epiphytes; supportive roots; water uptake and storage, parasitic plants and insectivorous plants.

Plant functions: including growth and development; environmental control; water uptake; osmosis; photosynthesis; and gas exchange with the atmosphere.  And finally,

Reproduction: including flower pollination, the reproductive process; seed dispersal; fruit types; plant classification; genetics; and the life cycle of mosses and ferns.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-355

Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names For Gardeners by William T Stearn  1996 is a great reference guide to the origin and meaning of the plant’s scientific name, covering both genus and species names. For example, one of the only two scientific names my eldest daughter learnt: Callicoma serratifolia , a rainforest tree, which used to grow down by our creek in Northern New South Wales. ‘Calli-’ comes from the Greek word ‘kalli’, meaning ‘beautiful’; ‘-coma’ from the Greek word  ‘kome’, meaning ‘hair’, thus referring to the soft gold, tufted flowerheads of this tree. ‘Serratifolia’ refers to the serrated or saw-tooth edges of its leaves. It is such an interesting book, as it often includes extra fascinating facts, as well as a chapter on vernacular names.

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  1. Garden Design Books :

2A. Garden Design Principles

Down-to-Earth garden Design by Phil Dudman : How To Design and Build Your Dream Garden 2010. I bought this book when I was studying garden design at Burnley and it backed up my study brilliantly. It covers all the basics, as well as providing ready-made garden designs for different garden configurations, and very practical information about actually achieving your design from building retaining walls, steps, pergolas and ponds to installing drainage, laying concrete and pavers, establishing new lawns and planting, composting, mulching and irrigation. A very useful book to own!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-351

Art and the Gardener : Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design by Gordon Hayward  2008 is a relatively new addition to my library. Because my gardening library is quite extensive, with a  book on most gardening topics, as well as the marvels of the internet, I am now very choosy when it comes to actually purchasing a book, but this one was on sale and looked at garden design in quite a novel way, so how could I resist? On reading it over Christmas, I’m so glad I didn’t! It’s a beautiful book, especially if like me, you love art and gardens. It’s a natural match really, when you think about it. Both art and gardens are governed by similar design elements and principles like line and form, colour and scale, texture, contrast, balance and harmony etc. Gordon relates different art movements to garden style: romanticism, classical axial, impressionism, cubism, minimalism, abstract expressionism and contemporary. He examines the relationship between house and garden in some detail, as well as rules of composition and design principles, including curves and straight lines; focal points; light and shade; contrast in texture and colour; transition spaces; and vertical elements. He has a large chapter on colour harmony or contrast, with suggestions of plants of different colours and seasons and an appendix on colour symbolism in different cultures. Throughout the book are beautiful photographs of artworks and gardens – a real visual treat, as well as really making you think and analyze both art and gardens.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-352

Garden Enchantment: Creative Design with Annuals and Perennials by Cheryl Maddocks 1992 This is a lovely dreamy book, covering colour design (including lists of flowers for different colour themes); fragrance; planting combinations; perennial borders and annuals; different garden types (meadow; natural; flower arrangers; herbs and edible flowers; pots and situations like  shade and night-time); as well as chapters on soil preparation; maintenance and propagation. There are selection lists for annuals and perennials at the back of the book, with descriptions and cultivation notes.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-350

2B. Elements of Design

  1. Colour

The Gardener’s Book of Colour by Andrew Lawson 1996.  I bought this book after hearing a talk by Andrew Lawson in Armidale in 1998, when he was visiting Australia. After discussing colour theory, he focuses on gardening with single colours (with planting suggestions for each season); harmonies and contrasts; and mixed colour combinations. At the back of the book, he includes keyline drawings with full  planting details for the major schemes discussed. I love his beautiful photographs and his brilliant colour combinations from bold and dramatic to harmonious and peaceful. His plant directories provide cultivation details for over 850 plants. I found his section on green colours particularly useful, as the backdrop to the garden throughout all seasons.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-349

Planting For Colour by Susan Chivers 1988 is also an excellent book on colour, with a double page spread devoted to each colour and notes on the association between colour and moods, including planting suggestions for each desired emotional effect eg calming; exciting; dramatic; subtle; and sophisticated. It examines the use of colour in different situations like small town gardens; country gardens; woodland gardens; water gardens; and seaside gardens with planting suggestions throughout. She  also looks at hard landscaping and containers. The final half of the book is devoted to ensuring the maximum use of colour throughout all the seasons from early Spring to late Winter, with double page plant profiles of dominant plants in each season eg magnolias and miniature daffodils in early Spring; and  early-flowering clematis, tulips and rhododendrons and azaleas in late Spring.

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The Startling Jungle: Colour and Scent in the Romantic Garden by Stephen Lacey 1986  An immediate best-seller on its publication, this book  leads into my next design element – scent. In this, his first book, Stephen writes about the use of colour and scent in the garden; cottage gardens; and the importance of foliage, then spends the remainder of the book describing the progress of the seasons, with delightful chapter titles like ‘the promise of a warming air’ (Spring) or ‘the brittle violin of frost’ (Winter). While only a small paperback , it makes up for its limited number of colour-plates with its prose and word pictures- a delightful read and worthy of all the acclaim it received.

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2.Scent

Scent in Your Garden by Stephen Lacey. One of my favourite books, as fragrance is an incredibly important facet of the garden for me and I love the luscious photographs by Andrew Lawson, who wrote the book on colour, previously described. Beginning with a chapter on the nature of scent, the book goes on to describe scented trees and shrubs; herbaceous borders and ground-covers; walled gardens and vertical plantings; rock and water gardens; rose gardens (my favourite!); herbs and conservatory and mild climate plants. While there are a large number of books now on scented plants, I still think this is one of the best!

bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-363Fragrant Herbal: Enhancing Your Life with Aromatic Herbs and Essential Oils by Lesley Bremness 1998 . Published by Crabtree and Evelyn, one of my favourite shops for toiletries, soaps and fragrances, this book is sumptuous, with stunning photography and over 75 recipes for delicious meals and herbal teas and fragrant home and bath products! It has extensive chapters on herbs and aromatherapy; plans for 12 fragrant herb gardens and an illustrated ‘A to Z’ index of over more than 120 herbs, with details of their aromatic properties, use and cultivation. If ever you need a pick-me-up, this beautiful coffee-table book is essential reading!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-374Creating a Garden for the Senses by Jenny Hendy 2009 While sight and smell (and to a certain extent, taste) are so dominant and amply catered for in garden design, the other senses of sound and touch are also very important and this small book has many wonderful ideas for creating a garden for all the senses. Again, beautiful photos, which were the initial reason for buying this book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-378

  1. Seasonal Interest

Plants For All Seasons by Andrew Lawson 1992, another lovely small book by Andrew Lawson, it features 250 plants for year-round display, a very important concept, especially in smaller gardens with limited space. Each plants described has been chosen for its versatility, its double value in the garden, through repeated blooming of flowers; long-lasting seedheads or Autumn berries, its colourful foliage and even the colour of its bark. For example, my Golden Hornet Crabapple, which is featured in the book, has beautiful white Spring blossom, golden fruits in Summer, which last well into Winter and colourful Autumn foliage. The glossy photographs are certainly very seductive!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-348

Plants For All Seasons by Ursula Buchan 1999 has an identical title and also details 85 plants with multi-season interest. She starts with a big section on foliage and texture; bark and stems; flowers and seedheads and growth habits; then focuses on each plant group with a full page devoted to each plant and again, lovely photos.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-353

This book was reprinted in paperback form in 2004 under a slightly different title: Planting For All Seasons: Beautiful and Versatile Plants That Change Through The Year , but it is otherwise identical to the 1999 book.

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2C. Garden Type

While there are numerous books on all the different garden styles from formal gardens to cottage gardens, seaside gardens, romantic gardens etc, I have only focused on a few favourites, which were very pertinent to us at the time, as we are very keen on the environment and have lived most of our years in the country, as well as raising a family. Next month, I will be discussing a few more specific garden styles as well.

  1. Natural Gardens

The Natural Gardener by Val Bourne 2004, the winner of the Garden Writers’ Guild Book of the Year Award in 2005, is another excellent read, which follows the garden through the seasonal cycle, with interesting snippets along the way about natural predators and insects like ladybirds and spiders; bumblebees and honeybees; butterflies and moths; ground beetles and vine weevils, hoverflies and lacewings; slugs; frogs and newts; and birds and hedgehogs. There are informative chapters on Winter foliage and fragrance; early Spring blooms; bulb lawns; water gardens;  transition periods between seasons; vegetable gardens; Summer flowers, Autumn blooms and fruit; and seedhead, stem and bark interest for Winter. Even though this book is written from a British perspective, its organic  and environmentally-friendly principles can still be applied to other countries, including Australia on the other side of the world!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-366

Natural Garden Style : Gardening Inspired by Nature by Noël Kingsbury 2009 is another British book with a stunning jacket and illustrations, based on linocuts by Angie Lewin, reason enough to buy this beautiful book or at least that’s my excuse!! Its thick wood-free paper, gorgeous photos and lovely coffee-table presentation is also the reason why books will always survive despite the digital age! In the introduction, Noël discusses the importance of organic gardening methods; sustainability and biodiversity; the concept of ‘right plant, right place’; learning from nature; gardening for wildlife and contemporary natural-style planting. He elaborates on these ideas in his chapters on meadows; prairies and borders; trees and woodlands; and the wider landscape, as well as discussing sculpture and ornament; sun and stone; land and water forms; and plant selection and maintenance. He finishes with a directory of natural-style gardens to visit in the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-365

Noël has also written another lovely book titled The New Perennial Garden 1996, in which he discusses the relationship between gardening and nature and the new garden styles, which encourage and support this ethos; plantings for specific conditions like full sun, shade, damp areas and dry areas; and a myriad of garden techniques from planting flowering meadows to seed collection and storage; propagation, maintenance and pest and weed control. The plant tables at the back are particularly useful, listing plants for shade (shade, light shade and moist shade); meadows, rough grass, prairies, steppes and heathlands; moist ground, waterside, and dry environments; and finally short-lived perennials, biennials and annuals, all with great photos and details on height, growth habit, foliage, flower, season, situation, zone and extra remarks.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0298

  1. Country Gardens

The Country Garden: How to Create the Natural Look in Your Garden by John Brookes 1987, one of my gardening bibles in my early gardening days! John Brookes is another very prominent garden designer in Britain. His acclaimed garden, ‘Denmans’ can be visited in West Sussex (along with 20,000 other visitors a year!). See : http://www.denmans-garden.co.uk/ for details. Stephen Lacey has written an article about this doyen of British garden designers at : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenprojects/11619164/John-Brookes-It-is-the-effect-that-plants-make-that-interests-me-more-than-their-individuality.html.

John Brookes was one of the pioneers of natural-style gardening back in the 1980s and in this book, he describes the new informal relaxed approach to gardening; natural gardening and planting; integrating house and garden and the concept of the borrowed landscape (though neither of these are new concepts, being fundamental tenets of the Arts and Crafts style gardens at the turn of last century, though neglected over the intervening years!) ; axes, vistas and glimpsed views; drift and flow effects; entrances and exits; walls, hedges and fences; surfaces and levels; paths and paving; garden structures; distressing techniques to age appearance; sculptures and ornaments; and the importance of a garden plan and how to draw it.  He examines the garden in each season with beautiful labelled photos (like herbarium pages) on a double page spread, featuring plants of seasonal interest eg Winter flowers; Winter stems and Winter Vegetables. Along the way, he describes different types of natural gardens: gravel gardens; woodlands; neglected corners; rugged clifftop gardens by the sea; cottage gardens; enchanted gardens; water gardens; shade gardens; working gardens, herb gardens- so many different types! At the back, he includes case histories and garden plans; natural garden planting lists, with the plants divided into their use (eg food for butterflies/ rabbit resistance/ decorative seed-heads etc) and specific environments (eg different soil types; moist shaded areas; extreme alkalinity etc). While this book can be read from start to finish, its format and presentation encourages a dip-in approach! It’s a very inspirational book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-372

 The Country Garden by Trisha Dixon 1992 My Christmas present in 1993! An equally lovely book about country gardens, this publication has a more traditional approach and a different form of organization. It has a logical ordered approach, starting from planning the garden and understanding the site; setting the style with respect to entrances and driveways, garden buildings, water features, and cottage style and wild gardens; the concepts of symmetry and perspective, including patterns and vistas, garden walks and avenues and hedging; colour; walls and fences and finally produce, an essential element of the country garden! This was a particularly useful book for us, because it is written from an Australian perspective! Stunning photography once again!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-373

  1. Family Gardens

Family Gardens by Bunny Guinness 1996. The perfect book for us at the time, given that we were developing our country gardens, while raising 3 young children, as well as the fact that today’s children are tomorrow’s gardeners! This lovely book positively propels kids out into the garden with its chapters on design and planning for all sizes of garden; playhouses and treehouses; garden games and outdoor living; water gardens; and gardens for pets and wildlife, and finally planting schemes of suitable plants, not to mention a cautionary poisonous plants list! There are wonderful photos of (and occasionally instructions for) Wendy houses and magical tree houses with slides; crocodile willow houses; swings and climbing pergolas; allocated areas for garden games; sandpits and paddling pools; outdoor eating areas, barbecues and terraces; vegetable patches for childhood foraging; unusual garden furniture and garden buildings; ponds and wetlands; wildlife gardens and wildflower meadows; chicken runs and rabbit hutches; adventure mazes and even topiary peacocks! I loved this book for its imagination and creativity and sheer sense of FUN!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-367

2D. Books by Garden Designers

Rosemary Verey (1918-2001)

Rosemary Verey’s Making of a Garden 1995

Rosemary Verey was an internationally renowned plantswoman and garden designer with a very famous garden Barnsley House in Gloucestershire.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-364

This is a beautiful book about the development of her garden over 35 years and encompassing all her gardening principles and practical techniques. I adored the watercolour designs of each garden area, like that of her potager below.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-375

Penelope Hobhouse (1929-)

Another very British influential gardener, writer and garden designer. I own three of her books: Colour in Your Garden: A Practical Sourcebook 1985; Garden Style 1989 and Penelope Hobhouse On Gardening 1994.

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The first book could have fitted equally well into the category on Design Elements, earlier in this post, but I thought I’d keep all her books together- mind you all of them would also fit into a future post on dreamy inspirational gardens (along with Rosemary Verey and Edna Walling as well!!).

In this book, she starts by discussing design for colour and the nature of colour, before focusing intensively on each individual colour, with seasonal planting suggestions, wonderful photographs and keyline drawings of planting plans. She also has a large section on the foliage framework, both green and Autumn colours, as well as bark colour. She finishes with some information on  the science behind plant colour and notes on climate and growing conditions.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-369

In her book, Garden Style, she discusses a large number of gardens, which have inspired and educated her, including her own Tintinhull and Margery Fish’s cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, both in Somerset;  Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire;and Villa Noailles in South-Eastern France. She discusses the importance of framework in a garden; archways and pergolas; paths and steps; hedges and avenues and water features, using Jenkyn Place, Hampshire and Christopher Lloyd’s garden, Great Dixter, East Sussex, as examples. She discusses pattern in some depth, both in decorative plantings and hard and soft landscapes, including mazes, topiary, water patterns, kitchen gardens, parterres and knot gardens. East Lambrook Manor features again in her chapter on more natural style gardens, along with the Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire. The flower garden and colour border, as well as Gertrude Jekyll’s influence, feature in her discussions of Monet’s Giverny; Hestercombe and her own garden, Tintinhull, both in Somerset. The final chapter describes the concepts of garden rooms, inner gardens and informal garden areas.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-368

In the last book, Penelope reveals all her gardening secrets and ideas, using her own garden, Tintinhull, to illustrate her theories. She describes each garden area, supported by stunning photographs, as well as discussing feature plants like hellebores and euphorbias; anemones and self-seeders; silver foliage plants; flowering salvias and roses; and cyclamen and alliums. Like Rosemary Verey’s book, there are beautiful watercolour plans of all her plantings. She also discusses seed collection and sowing and propagation by cuttings in her final  chapter titled ‘Behind the Scenes’. A truly beautiful and inspiring book!!!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-371

Edna Walling (1896-1973)

No Australian garden library would be complete without a book by our own celebrated garden writer, designer and environmentalist Edna Walling and I actually have four books:

Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947

The Edna Walling Book of Australian Garden Design 1980, edited by Margaret Barrett

A Gardener’s Log 1985

The Garden Magic of Edna Walling 1988

Here is the back cover of the second book, in which Edna expresses her garden philosophy.

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Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947 is an original copy, which we inherited from my husband’s mother. It is one of my favourites! Edna loved old English cottages, particular their scale, charm and use of local materials, and she created her own village in Bickleighvale at Mooroolbark, Victoria, now alas swallowed up by Melbourne suburbia, but nevertheless, with the cottages still intact, though the now-mature gardens are very shady and probably need rejuvenation! I love the old sepia photographs of both interiors and exteriors in this book, which really add to the sense of history and simplicity of her delightful dwellings. She includes plans, specifications and detailed drawings of her cottages and detailed notes about doorways and windows; stonework and timber; chimneys and paved floors and homemade garden pots.

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The Edna Walling Book of Garden Design, (a blend of extracts from Edna’s first three books: Cottage and Garden 1947, already discussed;  Gardens in Australia 1943; and A Gardener’s Log 1948) focuses more on the garden, with chapters titled: On Garden-Making; Trees and Shrubs; Perennials and Ground Covers; the Natural Rock Garden; Paths, Paving and Pergolas; Walls, Steps and Stairways; Cottages and Country Gardens; and Natural Swimming Pools. Edna had her own signature plants and vocabulary, which she employed time and time again in the gardens, which she designed and then planted for her cottages.eg: Birches, Crabapples, Hawthorns, Medlars and  Claret Ash; Kolwitzias, Daphne, Amelanchiers, Spireae, Kalmias and Chimonanthus; Campanulas, Verbascums, Achilleas, Lavender, Erigeron, Ajuga, Chamomile and Thyme. She also had a great love of the Australian bush and included many native flora in her repertoire, including Leptospermums, Lilly-Pilly (Acmena smithii), Grevilleas, Eriostemons, Baeckeas, Ericas and Prostantheras.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-359

A Gardener’s Log 1985 is a reprint of Edna’s original 1948 book, edited by Margaret Barrett. It is presented in the form of a diary or garden notebook, with little gems of wisdom and practical advice appropriate to each season.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-358

The final book, The Garden Magic of Edna Walling, once more edited by Margaret Barrett, contains over 100 black-and-white photos taken by Edna during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as colour photographs of the gardens, taken by John Hay 50 years later. Neil Robertson writes an introduction about Edna’s life and career and while much of the book is written about Edna, it does include extracts from her writings about stonework; natural gardening; Australian native plants; architecture in the garden; the use of water in the garden; gardens for children; more  greenery than colour; climbing roses; places of repose and the art of leaving well alone! bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-356

A good place to finish, I think !!! Next week, I will be returning to our garden for a post on the 2017 Summer Garden!

Sunflowers: December Feature Plant

What better way to celebrate the start of Summer than with a feature post on the wonderful exuberant Sunflower, Helianthus annuus!BlogSummerDays20%ReszdIMG_3870 Sunflowers belong to the daisy family, Asteraceae, and the genus Helianthus has over 70 species, most of them native to North America, except for three species from South America. Most are ornamental, frost-hardy herbaceous perennials, like the Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, but the Common Sunflower, familiar to most people, is an annual, as indicated by its species name: ‘annuus’. The genus name Helianthus is derived from two Greek words: ‘helios’ meaning ‘sun’ and ‘anthos’ meaning ‘flower’.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2015-12-31 15.26.43Mythology

In Greece, the sunflower is a symbol of the water nymph Clytie, who was turned into a sunflower after she lost her love Apollo, and constantly faces the sun, awaiting the return of his chariot. The visual similarity of the flower to the sun makes it a symbol of worship and faithfulness in many religions. In fact, the Incas used South American sunflowers to worship the sun in their temples, where priestesses wore necklaces of sunflowers, cast in gold, as well as sunflower crowns. The Hopi Indians of North America also used sunflowers in their tribal rituals, as well as for food and a purple dye. In China, the sunflower is an auspicious symbol, denoting long life and good luck, its bright yellow colour symbolising vitality, intelligence and happiness. Vincent Van Gogh is famous for his series of paintings, depicting sunflowers in vases, one of which sold for $39 Million in 1987. Here is my daughter’s sunflower painting- just as special and always makes me feel happy.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5641Habitat and Distribution

Native to North America, the sunflower was first domesticated in South-Western USA over 5000 years ago and soon became widespread throughout the Americas. Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizzaro, saw large crops in 16th century Peru and the sunflower was carried back to Spain, where it was cultivated and hybridized. By the 19th century, it was being cultivated on a wide scale in Russia, the Ukraine and the Caucasus regions for the manufacture of vegetable oil. The sunflower  is the State flower of Kansas and the National flower of Russia. Mostly grown in temperate areas, it is now also grown as a commercial crop in the United States, Argentina, India, China, Turkey, the European Union (mainly France and Spain) and South Africa. In Queensland, it is widely grown in the Central Highlands and on the Darling Downs, as seen in the photo below.blogsunflowers50reszdimage-158Description

Helianthus annuus is an annual forb, which grows up to 5 metres tall, with a well-developed tap root, which extends up to 3 metres into the soil. There are now a number of cultivars, varying in colour (yellow, orange, rust red) and height, from dwarf varieties less than 1 metre tall to taller cultivars over 3.5 metres tall.blogsunflowers50reszdimage-159 The tallest sunflower ever recorded was 7.76 metres tall, though there is a German record of 8.23 metres tall! There is also a discrepancy in growth rates: one source states 30 centimetres in one day, while another estimate is 2 metres in 6 months- that’s 182 days. For mathematicians, that’s 2000 centimetres in 182 days or 11 centimetres a day! Suffice to say that they are one of the fastest growing plants in the world! Our Burgundy Spray sunflower reached 2 metres last year and was harvested and ploughed in at 20 weeks- that’s 5 months- but we did use plenty of manure!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 17.20.36 BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.02.02The erect stem is rough and hairy and is branched in many wild varieties, but unbranched in cultivated varieties.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 10.11.21 The petiolate leaves are dentate (toothed margins) and sticky. The lower leaves are opposite and ovate or heart-shaped, while the leaves higher up the stem are arranged spirally.

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Blooming in Summer, the inflorescence is a terminal head (capitulum), 10 to 50 centimetres in diameter, with a world record of 87.63 centimetres.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.05.37 Each flower head is surrounded by three rows of bracts (phyllaries)- see photo above- and is composed of sterile outer yellow (or orange/ rust red) ray florets, which attract pollinators, and fertile inner brownish disc florets.blogsunflowers50reszdimage-160 A single flower head may have up to two thousand disc florets, each with the potential to develop into a seed. If there are multiple flower heads on the same plant, the number of disc florets per head will be much lower.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-28 09.50.43 The disc florets open in sequence, beginning at the periphery of the disc and moving inward. The disc florets are arranged in spiral whorls from the centre of the flowerhead, according to the famous Fibonacci sequence, which allows for the uniform packing of the maximum number of seeds on a seed head without any central overcrowding or bare patches at the outside edges. The Fibonacci sequence is a number set, in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers: ie 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610 and so on, and was described by Fibonacci (also known as Leonardo of Pisa) in his book : Liber Abaci in 1202.image-159-copy-copy

In the case of sunflowers, count the clockwise and counterclockwise spirals that reach the outer edge, and you’ll usually find a pair of numbers from the sequence: 34 and 55, or 55 and 89, or—with very large sunflowers—89 and 144. Another interesting mathematical fact is that each floret is oriented to the next by the Golden Angle, 137.5 degrees.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 19.38.59 Botanists have not yet been able to determine a mechanistic model that fully explains how the sunflower seed patterns arise, as some  plants don’t always show perfect Fibonacci numbers. A study published by the Royal Society Open Science on 18 May 2016 of 657 sunflower photos revealed one in five flowers had either a non-Fibonacci spiralling pattern or more complicated patterns, including near-Fibonacci sequences and other mathematical patterns that compete and clash across the flower head. See: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/5/160091 . Another interesting link is: https://plus.maths.org/content/sunflowers. Click on the first article in the search results: ‘Citizen scientists count sunflower spirals’ by Marianne Freiberger.

For more information about sunflowers and the Fibonnaci sequence, see :

http://momath.org/home/fibonacci-numbers-of-sunflower-seed-spirals/

and    https://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/nature-golden-ratio-fibonacci.html.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.04.53Another fascinating fact about sunflowers is their heliotropism (sun tracking) when young. During growth, sunflower leaves and flowers tilt to face the sun during the day, accounting for their French and Portuguese names: Tournesol (French) and Girassol (Portuguese). As the buds open, the flexible part of the stem tissue (the pulvinus) hardens and heliotropism ceases, the sunflower blooms permanently facing east, thereby acting as a living compass!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 17.41.12 Sunflowers are pollinated by bees, though some modern varieties are fully self-fertile. The following website has some interesting information about sunflower pollination, which highlights the importance of bees. See: http://www.pollinator.ca/bestpractices/sunflowers.html. Initially, each floret is male, the pollen-bearing anthers extending above the rim of the floret, then later on, the style emerges and the stigmatic lobes spread, opening the receptive surfaces for pollination – see the photo below. If there is enough pollinator activity, the pollen is removed from each floret before the stigma opens, reducing the chances for self-pollination. The resultant seeds are 15 to 25 mm long and vary in colour from white to brown and black and even striped.BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-12 10.24.58Growing Conditions and Propagation

Heat and drought-tolerant, sunflowers are very easy to grow in most climates, so long as they have full sun all day  (6 to 8 hours) and well-dug, nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. They are propagated by seed. Dig the seed bed well with plenty of manure/ compost, as they are heavy feeders, then rake the soil level. Broadcast the seed and rake into the surface or plant seeds individually to a depth of 2 cm. In cool temperate climates, sow seed in Spring after the last frost (we sowed our Burgundy Spray sunflower seeds on 7 October last year); in warm temperate climates, from late Winter to late Spring; and in frost-free subtropical and tropical regions, seed can be sown all year round, though Autumn to Spring is best. Sunflowers prefer long, hot Summers and hot wet humid Summers increase the risk of fungal diseases like downy or powdery mildew or rust. Mulch the seedbed with chopped sugar cane or lucerne to retain moisture, keep the soil cool and deter pigeons or mice. As the seedlings develop, thin them according to the size of the plants. Giant Russian sunflowers grow to over 4m high with a flowerhead of 5o cm, so require 1.5 m between each plant.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5166 Water or foliar feed weekly with seaweed extract in the morning, so that the foliage is dry by sunset, also reducing the risk of fungal mould and rot. For show flowers and maximum seed production, apply two handfuls of poultry manure per square metre when the seedlings are 15 cm high and a 4 cm layer of well-rotted cow manure and compost when they reach 0.5 m in height. Stake the stems when necessary- old pantihose are good. The dwarf varieties should flower within 10 to 12 weeks of sowing, while the taller varieties take 12 to 16 weeks to bloom. Our Burgundy Spray sunflower had its first bloom open at 12 weeks, just in time to celebrate the New Year! We harvested the seeds on the 23 February 2016.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.10.42

If your plants are affected by fungal disease, a general fungicide can be applied. Slugs and snails love browsing on the stems and leaves of sunflowers, so spray the seedlings with an organic snail bait or a mixture of 1 part espresso coffee to 3 parts of water, then mulch, repeating after heavy rain or irrigation. Bees and butterflies love the flowers, while birds, rodents, squirrels and deer are attracted to the sunflower seed, though large amounts are fatal to the latter! There are numerous insect pests, most of which attack other plants as well. More information on these insects and their management can be found on :http://ipmguidelinesforgrains.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Sunflower_IPM-Workshops_north-March2013.pdf and https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/pests/e1457.pdf BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0005 (2) Seed heads should be harvested when very dry ie once the back of the flower heads are turning yellow or brown. Tie paper bags over their heads, then cut the stems and hang upside-down in a dry, well-ventilated place till fully dry.BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-12 10.21.10 The seed head can be sharply struck or rubbed across an old washboard to release the seeds. To process sunflower seed for consumption, soak them overnight in a bucket of 1 gallon (4.5 litres) water and 1 cup salt. Redry in a 250 degree Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) oven for 4 to 5 hours and store in airtight containers.For replanting,  the seeds are viable for 5 years, according to: http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2013/06/14/how-long-will-seeds-last-stay-viable/, but if you want to check their viability before planting, see: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/check-sunflower-seeds-viable-68389.html.

Uses

Sunflowers are grown extensively throughout the world for human and animal food and sunflower oil production. There are two types grown. The first is oilseed, a very small black seed  with a very high  oil content , which  is processed into sunflower oil and meal and is also the seed of choice of most bird feeders. The second type is non-oilseed (confectionery sunflower), a larger black and white striped seed used in a variety of food products from snacks to bread. Sunflower seeds are rich in healthy fats, oil, vitamin E, protein, fibre and minerals and can be eaten raw or roasted for a savory snack or ground into a seed paste (Sun Butter) like peanut butter. They are excellent for promoting heart health and lowering cholesterol. The seeds can also be ground into a sunflower meal and used as a substitute for wheat flour in breads and cakes and the seed husks can be ground into a coffee-like beverage.blogsunflowers20reszdimg_0176 Sunflowers are also widely used as an animal food, mainly for birds (seeds) and cattle (forage crop or a high protein meal, which is a by-product of sunflower oil extraction and is often blended with soya bean meal). The seeds can also be pressed to make an  oil, which has been used in salads and for cooking, margarine production and in industry : as drying oils for paints and varnishes and in beauty products like soap and cosmetics. However, readers should be aware that there is some research about health risks associated with cooking with vegetable oils. See these links for further information: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11981884/Cooking-with-vegetable-oils-releases-toxic-cancer-causing-chemicals-say-experts.html and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20886885. The cooking oil is recycled as a biofuel. For more on the commercial industry overview of sunflowers in the United States, see: http://www.sunflowernsa.com  and   http://www.soyatech.com/sunflower_facts.htm. Sunflower oil can also be used in medicine: for constipation and lowering bad LDL cholesterol or applied directly to the skin for poorly healing wounds, skin injuries, psoriasis and arthritis and as a massage oil.blogsunflowers20reszdimg_0171Native Americans also grew sunflowers for food and oil, medicine, fibre and dyes , as well as to provide shelter for crops of maize, pumpkins and beans. The juice from the stems was used to treat wounds and an infusion of the plant in water was used to treat kidney and chest pain. The fibre from the stalks could be made into cloth and both the seeds and flower heads yielded a dye: purple, blue and black from the seeds and a bright yellow from the flowers.image-159-copySunflowers can also be grown as a green manure crop, the plants being dug into the ground once the seedlings reach a height of 30 cm. The plants can bioaccumulate heavy metals in contaminated soil, like lead, arsenic and uranium, and were used to remove nuclear fallout after the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.image-160-copy-copyAnd finally, sunflowers are commonly used in floristry and are often given on the third wedding anniversary as a sign of adoration, strength and loyalty. Stems should be cut early in the morning before the flowerbuds are fully open- preferably ½ to ¾ open. If buying them, the leaves should be a strong green colour and the stems should be strong. They must be sold with a water source, as they shock easily. Remove any foliage below water level and cut the stems on a sharp diagonal (2 to 4 cm from the stem ends), under water if possible to avoid air blockages in the stems. Do NOT bash the stems. Use a preservative to maintain open flowers and change the vase water daily. The flowers have a vase life of 7 to 10 days. The leaves will wilt and die before the flowers, so only retain the upper leaves. To help prevent leaf drooping, add 10 drops of household detergent to 5 litres of water and leave in this solution for 1 to 3  hours, but no longer than overnight. If the leaves do start to droop, immediately recut the stems up to 6 cm and place in deep water with preservative for up to 3 hours. If the flowers droop completely, recut the stems and place them in boiling water to clear the blockage quickly (though the lifespan of the flower will be halved).

I really enjoyed researching my last feature post for this year. The sunflower is a fascinating plant and I hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  If I have whetted your appetite to know more, it would be worth trying to source ‘Sunflowers: the Secret History’ by Joe Pappalardo. See: http://www.overlookpress.com/sunflowers-the-secret-history.html.

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