Katrina Ramsey

MA work

Dissertation: Inside and Outside the Seventeenth-Century English Garden

The seventeenth-century garden is often only looked at as a stepping-stone on the way to the more famous landscapes of the eighteenth century. My dissertation sets out to break with this teleology and examine seventeenth-century garden spaces on their own terms.

Depictions and descriptions of idealised gardens show it as an enclosed space. My research has focused on how these enclosures were constructed; examining the rise of brick as a material in the garden and the use of ironwork. These materials changed the experience of being in the garden: brick enabled the cultivation of fruit earlier and later in the year, whilst iron gates and railings offered views through the garden and beyond.

If bricks lent themselves to straight lines, so did the garden plans provided by the new genre of gardening books (over 100 new titles were published in the seventeenth century). The dissertation examines garden spaces as ordered creations, looking at the boundaries with the house and with the landscape beyond. Avenues began to be cut through the garden walls and they stretched out from the house, changing seasonally and growing annually, signifying ownership of the landscape.

Beyond the garden, the dissertation will look at forest and field to question what the seventeenth century considered a wilderness and how the imposing verticality of trees could be ordered.

Broader questions arise, such as whether the garden operated as a site for profit or for pleasure and how time and people interacted with garden spaces.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2008

  • Dissertation: Inside and Outside the Seventeenth-Century English Garden

    The seventeenth-century garden is often only looked at as a stepping-stone on the way to the more famous landscapes of the eighteenth century. My dissertation sets out to break with this teleology and examine seventeenth-century garden spaces on their own terms.

    Depictions and descriptions of idealised gardens show it as an enclosed space. My research has focused on how these enclosures were constructed; examining the rise of brick as a material in the garden and the use of ironwork. These materials changed the experience of being in the garden: brick enabled the cultivation of fruit earlier and later in the year, whilst iron gates and railings offered views through the garden and beyond.

    If bricks lent themselves to straight lines, so did the garden plans provided by the new genre of gardening books (over 100 new titles were published in the seventeenth century). The dissertation examines garden spaces as ordered creations, looking at the boundaries with the house and with the landscape beyond. Avenues began to be cut through the garden walls and they stretched out from the house, changing seasonally and growing annually, signifying ownership of the landscape.

    Beyond the garden, the dissertation will look at forest and field to question what the seventeenth century considered a wilderness and how the imposing verticality of trees could be ordered.

    Broader questions arise, such as whether the garden operated as a site for profit or for pleasure and how time and people interacted with garden spaces.

  • Degrees

  • BA, History, University of Cambridge, 2004
  • Experience

  • Placement: Baroque Exhibition, Research Department, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2007