by Anne Schlee. Paperback; 250x280mm; 110 pages; 76 figures (colour throughout).ISBN 9780955892349. £19.99 (No VAT).
Rousham and its landscape garden, located in rural Oxfordshire, is one of the few gardens of the first phase of English landscape design to have escaped alteration.
Informative and well-illustrated, The Statues at Rousham Park describes how the retired General James Dormer, who inherited Rousham in 1738, completed Charles Bridgeman’s garden design with the help of William Kent, but reserved for himself the choice of statues and their placement.
Taken together, the statues and busts, in both lead and stone, suggest an autobiographical portrait of Dormer.
Despite the gardens at Rousham being a popular local attraction, a site of pilgrimage to students of William Kent, and the backdrop to world-famous television drama including the BBC’s recent adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love (2021), this is the first publication of its kind on its statues and their surrounding landscape.
Anne Schlee is a Booker Prize and Carnegie Medal shortlisted, and Guardian Prize winning, novelist whose work includes The Vandal (Macmillan 1980), Rhine Journey (1981) and The Time in Aderra (1996). She has judged a number of literary competitions including the Somerset Maugham Award, the David Higham Prize, and the Booker Prize. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007.