Jane Brown is the author of several books on eminent gardeners, including GARDENS OF A GOLDEN AFTERNOON (Penguin, 1985), the story of Edwin Luytens’s partnership with Gertrude Jekyll, which has become a much-loved classic all over the world. Her other books have included one on Lutyens and the Edwardians, and the gardening biographies of Vita Sackville-West, Lanning Roper and the American landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand. Her seminal work, THE PURSUIT OF PARADISE: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF GARDENS AND GARDENING was published by HarperCollins in 1999 to great critical acclaim. THE MODERNIST GARDEN was published by Thames and Hudson, and SPIRITS OF PLACE was published by Penguin in May 2001. Jane Brown has pulled up her Hampshire/Surrey roots and transplanted herself to Northamptonshire.TALES OF THE ROSE TREE (Harpercollins) was published in April 2005 and MY DARLING HERIOTT, from HarperCollins, published in 2006.
The Guardian said of MY DARLING HERIOTT: 'Brown has unearthed a wonderful character who has until now existed only in the margins of garden history. With great verve, she places Henrietta at the centre of the genesis of the picturesque garden movement.'
DOROTHY, a a biography of Dorothy Elmhirst, American heiress and founder of Dartington, was published by Unbound in 2016.
THE OMNIPOTENT MAGICIAN: LANCELOT 'CAPABILITY' BROWN 1716 - 1783
UK: Chatto & Windus
The first fully-rounded biography of Capability Brown, the genius who created the English landscape garden.
Capability Brown changed the face of eighteenth-century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, a magical world of green. This English landscape style spread across Europe and the world. At home, it was so politically pleasing and socially apt that his influence spread beyond walls and hedgerows into the lowland landscape at large, and into landscape painting. He stands behind our vision, and fantasy, of rural England.
In this vivid, lively biography, based on detailed research, Jane Brown paints an unforgettable picture of the man, his work, his happy domestic life, and his crowded world. She follows the life of the jovial yet elusive Mr Brown, from his childhood and apprenticeship in rural Northumberland, through his formative years at Stowe, the most famous garden of the day. His private practice and innovatory ideas – and his affable and generous nature, and approachability (in a society of notoriously ‘grumpy’ professionals) - led to a meteoric rise to a Royal Appointment in 1764. This allowed the family to live in Wilderness House at Hampton Court, and Brown’s clients and friends ranged from statesmen like the elder Pitt to artists and actors like David Garrick. Riding constantly across England, he never ceased working until he collapsed and died in January 1783 after visiting one of his oldest clients. He was a practical man but also a visionary, always willing to try something new. As this delightful, and beautifully illustrated biography shows, Brown filled England with enchantment – eye-catchers, follies, cascades, lakes, pretty bridges, ornaments, monuments, meadows, woods and lanes - creating views that still enchant us today.
MY DARLING HERIOTT:THE LIFE AND LANDSCAPES OF HENRIETTA LUXBOROUGH, POETIC GARDENER AND IRREPRESSIBLE EXILE
World rights: HarperCollins UK
Henrietta St John, eighteenth-century aristocrat, bluestocking and society exile, was born on St Swithin's Day in 1700, and brought up in the heart of Hogarthian London and at her ancestral home of Bolingbroke Castle. She had more wit and intelligence than was good for a high-ranking woman of her time, an impetuous nature, and a passionate interest in the great continental fashion of the time - ornamental gardening.
THE GARDEN AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
Royal College Publications
The garden at Buckingham Palace is probably one of the best-known 'secret gardens' in the world. Its name is recognised as the venue for the Queen's summer garden parties and, at 16 hectares (40 acres), it is one of the largest private gardens in London. As part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, the garden has been seen by millions of visitors from around the globe. Yet despite this, its centuries-long history and its year-round character remain almost unknown.
TALES OF THE ROSE TREE
From the giant Rhododendron falconeri with its peeling cinnamon bark on sculptured trunks to the delicate potted azalea on the garden patio, almost everyone has a rhododendron within reach of their daily lives. But few know of the epic passage this plant has taken from the roof of the world.
In fascinating tales of global passage, Jane Brown celebrates this majestic and ancient beauty and tells the success story of a species forced to exist out of its natural habitat - one which came to be the subject of feverish adoration.
SPIRITS OF PLACE
SPIRITS OF PLACE is the history of five people famous for their books, art and unconventional lifestyles in the first half of the twentieth century. Jane Brown describes the symbolic importance of the English landscape - from the clipped lawns of Cambridge to country retreats in Sussex - and the role it played within the creative imaginations of Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Rupert Brooke, Carrington and L P Hartley.
THE MODERN GARDEN
UK: Thames & Hudson; US: Thames & Hudson (Translation: Thames & Hudson)
The popular idea of the domestic garden is still rooted in the cottage garden tradition inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. But there is an essential link between modern art and architecture and garden design. This superbly illustrated book explores the evolution of the modernist garden, from the influence of Le Corbusier and the British modernist garden movement in the 1930s, through to the European environmental revolution of the 1960s and beyond.
A new biography of the American heiress Dorothy Elmhirst who founded Dartington Hall in 1925, which rapidly became a magnet for artists, architects, writers, philosophers and musicians from around the world, creating an exceptional centre of creative activity.