The extraordinary landscape garden at Studley Royal is the subject of a major new book by Mark Newman.
Based on many years of research, this book charts at the history of Studley Royal from its origins to the present day, while devoting most attention to the development of its pioneering garden in the eighteenth century.
John Aislabie (1670-1742) may have been a blatantly venal government minister – he was was convicted of corruption following the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720 – but he had a sophisticated taste in landscape design.
Following his banishment from politics he poured his energies into Studley Royal. He bent the landscape to his will, but at the same time allowed for a degree of naturalness and irregularity, which was new at the time.
Studley represents the early phase of the English landscape garden, juxtaposing formality and informality, architecture and foliage, water and greenery, light and shade.
His son William Aislabie (1700-81) continued to develop the landscape, incorporating the medieval ruins of Fountains Abbey into it and creating the ‘Chinese woods’ further up the valley.
The book can be purchased via the National Trust online shop.