Archive and Special Collections

Blurb: notable books from the collections

‘The Theory and Practice of Gardening’ by Antoine Joseph Dézallier d’Argenville, plates drawn by Alexander le Blond and translated by John James.

Second edition published 1728 by Bernard Linot, London.  This extremely rare book on gardening was bought in the late 1960’s as part of the Leeds School of Architecture Collection.

‘La Theorie and la Pratique du Jardinage’ was published anonymously originally in French in 1709 later translated into English in 1712. The plates in this copy are intact which is a rarity. Many copies of this book have been defaced, the plates cut out and sold separately. They show plans and designs for parterres, hedges, labyrinths and ornaments. This particular edition is attributed to J. B. Alexander le Blond, a French architect who produced the drawings for the plates. The book was actually written by Antoine Joseph Dézallier d’Argenville.

John James, an English architect, translated the book  in 1712, it and the original French edition became the standard work to be consulted when laying out a French style garden. The book is thought to have been instrumental in introducing the concept of the ‘ha-ha’ into gardening, especially eighteenth century English garden design.

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