Thousands of books have been written about the history of the English Garden but this is the first book that explores how much money was actually spent on their creation. Starting with the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and ending in 2020, Floud takes us on ‘a journey that includes royalty and riches, designers and ditches, suburbia and shrubbery’ writes Ann Treneman in The Times review of 2nd November, 2019. Floud bases his conversions on average earnings in 1700 and in 2015 and it makes astonishing reading. Floud calculates that William III spent £2.8 million in six months on lowering the Privy Garden twice so he could view the River Thames from the first floor apartments at Hampton Court, while ‘Capability’ Brown earned between £20 million and £50 million a year. Treneman comments on the ‘mind-boggling amount of detail in this book’ and how at times, it ‘threatens to overwhelm’ but concludes that ‘Floud is a clear writer and excels at providing context and keeping the whole enterprise grounded’. A fascinating read.
Allen Lane | 400pp | 2019 | £12.50