Discovering the landscape #3: Milner’s 'Landscape Gardening'

Written by Claire Wooldridge, Graduate Trainee Library Assistant

As progress continues to integrate the library and archive of the Landscape Institute into our MERL collections, here’s a brief look at one of our favourite items:

Keszthely, Milner's Landscape Gardening 1890
Keszthely, Milner’s Landscape Gardening 1890

The art and practice of landscape gardening by Henry Ernest Milner (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, And Co, 1890).

Henry Ernest Milner (1845-1906) was a landscape gardener and the son of landscape architect Edward Milner (1819-1884).  In 1890 Henry Milner published Landscape Gardening using examples from his father’s work.  In his preface, Henry writes of his father:

By this prosecution of his art in such extended practice, he attained a purely exceptional experience, the opportunity for which ripened his artistic powers; … I too have had ample opportunities to practically illustrate the art that I love and the work that I delight in. 

Edward Milner was indeed a renowned landscape gardener, training under Sir Joseph Paxton and becoming the principle of newly formed Crystal Palace School of Gardening in 1881.  At this time Henry was invited to go into partnership with his father.  After Henry’s publication of Landscape Gardening Milner received several important commissions including the grounds of Wembley Park, the enlargement of Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Gisselfeld, Denmark as well as various works on Swedish royal gardens. In 1897 he received the Victoria medal of honour in horticulture.

Milner also ruminates on how a landscape gardener is charged with interpreting and drawing out the natural beauty of the landscape: (p. 5)

It is the province of the Landscape Gardener, as I understand the art, to appreciate the multitudinous means whereby Nature expresses her beauty, and to use those means artistically as to arrange their force for producing the delightful result he desires to achieve.

Containing sections on topics such as use and positioning of terraces, water, fountains, planting and hothouses in gardens, this title contains several beautifully illustrated and partly coloured plates depicting aspects of garden plans.  It also features a fold out plan of Peverey gardens and sepia plate Milner’s work on the gardens at Keszthely (Hungary).

Peverey plan, Milner's Landscape Gardening 1890
Peverey plan, Milner’s Landscape Gardening 1890
Sepia plate, Milner's Landscape Gardening 1890
Sepia plate, Milner’s Landscape Gardening 1890

This title will be integrated into our MERL Library reserve collection due to its fine illustrative plates, age and value.  Kept in our purpose built rare book and archive store, it will be available to the public upon request once catalogued.

More information about Milner and our archival holdings of the work of Milner and his father can be found on our page for the Milner White collection.

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