Dinner with the Experts: Sundays at 6:30pm
Moderated by Dr. Nicole Blackwood, President of Friends of the Owens-Thomas House.
FOT Lecture Series IV: March 21, 28 and April 11
Professor Mark Laird will discuss why researching eighteenth-century plant materials involves a different methodology from that used by architectural conservators investigating interior ornamentation. He will illustrate, by example of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, that in 2010, unlike the paints and plasterwork of the interiors, the vegetative remnants of Walpole’s gardening were non-existent. Visualizing how to restore Walpole’s vanished groves and shrubbery to the period 1747-1797 involved using textual and pictorial archives, supported by a fund of plant-material studies that began in the early 1980s with Laird’s replanting Charles Hamilton’s Painshill Park, Surrey, to its glory days 1738-1773. Mark Laird’s 40-year work for Painshill Park Trust also leads him to consider the place of women in Georgian gardening. By comparing the paltry wages paid to “weeder women” to the huge prices paid for a single Magnolia grandiflora from South Carolina, he arrives at some arresting conclusions. He will end by reviewing Professor Roderick Floud’s 2019 Economic History of the English Garden. Floud’s findings – that, put in 2020 money values, “Hamilton was paid well over £60 million from public funds for doing very little” — prompts a complementary proposition: that expenditure on plant-material-based restoration is today’s way of reclaiming assets for huge public benefit.
About the Expert:
Mark Laird is an Associate Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and has a consultancy in historic landscape conservation with bases in Toronto and the UK. As a consultant to Painshill Park Trust, Surrey, England, over four decades, he has pioneered new methods of “conjectural replanting,” which are now being adapted to sites owned by English Heritage and The National Trust. Prior to his appointment at Daniels in 2016, he was for fifteen years Senior Lecturer in the History of Landscape Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. He has been a research fellow at Chelsea Physic Garden, London, and twice a fellow, then senior fellow, at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC. He has published and lectured in Europe and North America. His publications include The Flowering of the Landscape Garden (1999) and A Natural History of English Gardening (2015).
Dinner Delivered by Joe’s at the Jepson
To Order Dinner:
Call Don at 912-398-3078 | Orders Taken until 7 PM March 25 for 3/28 Delivery | Dinner for two people 26.95 + tax. and for 4 people 47.50 + tax
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