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Gravetye Manor, 1906-1925

Former owner:
Robinson, William 1838-1935
Physical description:
1 folder+ 22 glass negatives, 2 lantern slides
Mixed archival materials
United Kingdom, England, West Sussex, Sharpthorne
West Sussex
Gravetye Manor (Sharpthorne, West Sussex, England)
Gravetye Manor was the country home of William Robinson, "the Father of the English Flower Garden." His estate comprised about 1,100 acres and included an Elizabethan manor house dating to 1598 that Robinson restored in the 1880s. Eschewing the rigid formality and carpet bedding style of Victorian gardens, Robinson argued for a more informal approach to planting that incorporated a "wild" naturalizing and mingling of native plants from many regions of the world. A prolific author, Robinson founded, edited and owned seven periodicals during his lifetime, and published 14 books between 1868 and 1917. His writings and Gravetye Manor itself serve as his legacy to the gardening world. Following Robinson's death in 1935 the gardens underwent a period of neglect until 1958, when the property became a hotel. Restoration of the gardens has been undertaken in recent years, and in 2010 Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter (a garden heavily influenced by Robinson's ideas) was brought in as a consultant. The Thomas Sears images in this Archives of American Gardens collection capture Gravetye Manor during its peak in the early 20th century and include two that were published in 1925. The remainder, therefore, would have been taken during a return visit to Gravetye in 1908. It is not known, however, in which year any individual images were taken.
Persons associated with the garden include William Robinson (former owner and garden designer, 1884-1935).
The folder includes worksheets, photocopied book excerpts, and additional information about the house and garden.
Garden has been featured in William Robinson, Gravetye Manor, or Twenty Years' Work Round an Old Manor House: Being an Abstract from the Tree and Garden Book of Gravetye Manor, Sussex . . . (New York: Sagapress; Sagaponack, NY: Distributed by Amaryllis Press, 1984)
Garden has been featured in Richard Bisgrove, William Robinson: The Wild Gardener (London: Frances Lincoln, 2008)
Garden has been featured in Lawrence Fleming and Alan Gore, The English Garden (London: Michael Joseph, 1979), p. 202
Garden has been featured in Richard Bisgrove, The National Trust Book of the English Garden (Harmondsworth: Viking, 1990), pp. 215-216
Garden has been featured in Wayne Winterrowd, "Robinson's Legacy," Horticulture LXXIII, No. 7 (August/September 1995), pp. 24-28
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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