"The first steps of one interested in the formal style of landscape architecture should be directed to Italy." So wrote the great American designer Charles Platt in his introduction to his book, Italian Gardens, first published in 1894. Platt's words proved influential.
Devoted solely to the topic of the Italian villa landscape, the handsomely illustrated volume quickly found an eager readership among American architects, landscape designers, and their clients. As the first publication in English on the topic, Italian Gardens appealed to a public increasingly intrigued by the question of what the new American garden might look like.
Platt's book also turned a national spotlight on his own fledgling architectural career, transforming him into one of the most sought-after designers in the country. Perhaps no volume in the history of American landscape architecture has had so far-reaching an effect.
The book offered far more than just specific design motifs to gardeners and architects. Elegant photographs painted a picture of a celebratory indoor/outdoor lifestyle. The text indirectly prescribed a specific relationship between the residential landscape and architecture. Platt saw the genius in the Italian concept of a garden as a series of rooms, or apartments, "where one," he reported, "might walk about and find a place suitable to the hour of the day and feeling of the moment, and still be in that sacred portion of the globe dedicated to one's self." American designers took Platt's observations and images to heart, and made extensive use of them.
Long out of print, Platt's Italian Gardens is once again available in an historic edition with important additions. This new volume contains not only Platt's original text and photographs, reproduced from the original glass plate negatives, but also twenty additional photographs taken by Platt on his Italian tour which were not included in the original 1894 edition.
Keith Morgan, author of the definitive monograph on Platt's architectural oeuvre, has contributed an essay to this new edition which places architect Platt and his book in the context of American landscape history. Illustrated by twenty-three photographs, plans, and drawings, Morgan's deft survey captures the ebullience and grace of Platt's own house and garden designs, and sheds considerable light on the making of one of America's finest and most influential landscape designers.
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List of Illustrations
Introductory 13 Villa Lante 19 Villa Borghese 2J Villa Pamfili
Villa Albani 35 Quirinal Gardens 37 Colonna Gardens 41 Villa
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abrupt admirable American arched architectural details architectural features arrangement Atget Bagnaia beautiful bosquet campagna Caprarola Carrere & Hastings casino character Charles Eliot charming Colonna Gardens Cornish Cortissoz cypresses Edith Rockefeller McCormick Edith Wharton elaborate entrance Faulkner Farm FIGURE flower-garden flowers formal garden revival Frascati Frederick Law Olmsted Garden and Forest Gardens New York gardens of Italy gate grove H. H. Hunnewell hill ilex walk illustrations important interesting Italian Gardens Italian villa landscape architect landscape design Massachusetts Maxfield Parrish natural Olmsted's palace parterre paths pavilion Percier and Fontaine photographs Piatt Picturesque planting PLATE Platt plot plan Quirinal Gardens Renaissance garden reservoir Rockefeller McCormick Rome side stairways statuary surrounding trees trip ture Villa Albani Villa Aldobrandini Villa Borghese Villa Caprarola Villa d'Este Villa Falconieri Villa Falconieri Costanzi Villa Gamberaia Villa Lante Villa Mattei Villa Mondragone Villa Pamfili Villa Portici Villa Taverna Villa Turicum wall William