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The Garden and Culture

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In the modern era the ‘artist-gardener’ came of age, and painters, photographers, writers and sculptors became gardeners.

The artist’s love of gardens and flowers generated new opportunities to experiment with colour, themes and emotions, as the garden emerged as a major subject in modern art and culture.

These gardens would fulfil a symbolic function and provide a commentary on the aesthetic and social attitudes of the modern era.

Learning and teaching

There will be lectures, case studies and group discussions.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

  • The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement; Anna O. Marley (University of Pennsylvania Press )
  • Nathaniel Bacon: Artist, Gentleman and Gardener: Karen Hearn (Tate Publishing )
  • Jane Brown, The Modern Garden (Thames and Hudson, 2000)
  • Jackie Bennett, The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired our Best-loved Authors (Frances Lincoln, 2 Oct 2014)
  • Katie Campbell, British Gardens in Time: The Greatest Gardens and the People Who Shaped Them (Frances Lincoln, 27 Mar 2014))
  • Bill Laws, Artists' Gardens (Cassell Illustrated, 1 Feb 2000)
  • George Plumptre, The Gardens of England: Treasures of the National Gardens Scheme, (Merrell Publishers Ltd 2013)
  • Tim Richardson, The New English Garden (Frances Lincoln, 2013)
  • Victoria Summerley; Secret Gardeners: Britain's Creatives Reveal Their Private Sanctuaries (Frances Lincoln 5 Oct. 2017)
  • Sir Roy Strong, Remaking a Garden - The Laskett Transformed (Frances Lincoln, 15 May 2014)
  • Sir Roy Strong, The Artist and the Garden (Yale University Press 7 Oct 2005)
  • Tom Turner, British Gardens. History, Philosophy and Design (Routledge 2013)
  • Andrew Wilson, Influential Gardens: the designers who shaped 20th-century garden style. (London: Mitchell Beazley 2002)
  • Christopher Wood, Painted Gardens (Pavilion Books 1998)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.