Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Parks and Recreation

 [An early-19th-century print of a helter-skelter in a Paris park from Garden Mania.]

I must have purchased Garden Mania: the Ardent Gardener's Compendium of Design & Decoration a few years ago during a phase when I had big plans to explore the history of gardening. Or maybe at the time I was simply interested in the illustrations of garden chairs. Whatever the case, I'm having fun revisiting it now.

[18th-century swinging seat under chinoiserie tent from Garden Mania.]

Of course, the section on furnishing the garden is right up the alley of any design enthusiast (think follies, organic looking tables, urns and tents) but another really interesting chapter in the 400-page compendium deals with entertainment.

[Wood frame ferris wheel with wicker-work seats circa 1800 from Garden Mania.]

This wooden ferris wheel is from Jane Austen's era. I can't decide if the wicker seats give it a kind of charm or if it's just a little scary. (The guys responsible for all the pulling that causes the passengers to go round certainly don't look happy.)  It's the images of swings that really captivate.

[French fashion plate of 1920s from Garden Mania.]

Maybe it's because I'm so anxious to see a certain new summer movie, or maybe I'm in the mood for a crisp alternative to the famous frothy Fragonard painting, but this French fashion illustration from the book caught my eye. I thought it might inspire some of you event planners to do a riff on the park-themed party or wedding reception complete with classic iron benches. (BTW, The World of Interiors, June 2011, offers a terrific roundup of garden seats; below is my own Jayson find.)

  [Image via Jayson Home and Garden.]

[Click to enlarge. Photograph of bubble in garden by Devil's Advocate. Flowers by Todd Fiscus and Raegan McKinney.]

More inspiration pulled from a past post: Southern Accents' wedding feature with flower balls suggestive of children's beach balls. (These remind me of the ever-popular summer pastime, blowing bubbles, too.) Another great flashback is Matthew Robbins doing amazingly wild, trailing bouquets at Wave Hill for Martha Stewart Weddings.

[Screengrab from Sheryl Crow's Summer Day video.]

Related past posts: A Pleasant Thing, Free Association and Orlando Part II.


Maggie May said...

i'd love to have a swing in our back, but we don't have a tree to anchor it to

Stacy said...

Garden Mania is one of my all time favorite inspirational sources! My copy looks like it's been through a war but I guess that's a sign of a well loved book.

redbrickbuilding said...

Can I place a special request for a follow up post on the garden chair illustrations? (I did see the round up in WOI last week.) I'm fascinated by older styles of garden furniture. Most things on the market - except at the super high end - seem so unimaginative. I want antique quality that can survive outside!

Also, have you leafed through the new version of Garden Design magazine? The mix of topics in the past couple of issues has been really inspiring, IMO.

Style Court said...

Stacy --

Glad to hear that!

Maggie May --

Same situation here. At least not a suitable one.

Redbrick --

Sure thing. Just give me a few days.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

My favorite park bench -simple, comfortable and elegant! Love that 20's fashion plate too -wouldn't that make a great wall mural? I'll have to check out that book for sure.
PS - at first I thought you were referring to that hilarious tv show with Amy Poehler (which I never miss!).

Style Court said...

Stefan --

I'm a huge P & R fan too! Just gets funnier. Last week's scene with Tom and the fabric swatches was hysterical.

You're right the French illustration would translate well into a mural.

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I adore the summer-y spirit of this post and must take a look at Garden Mania. Just delightful, Courtney! ; )

Style Court said...

Barbara --

Oh good! I wanted that vibe to come across. If we do the cake (mentioned in the other post), I'm thinking daisies. An example at Sarah's site gave me the idea. Simple pleasures!

The Devoted Classicist said...

GARDEN MANIA is one of my favorite garden reference books, too!

Emile de Bruijn said...

Loving that chinoiserie swing seat - sort of 'Chinese Heath Robinson' :)