Garden Artist, Landscape Architect
Judith B. Tankard
The only monograph to chronicle the life and work of one of the most important figures in American landscape architecture.
Beatrix Farrand, the only female founder of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is one of the most important landscape architects of the early twentieth century. Today the scope of her work and her influence on the profession are widely acknowledged, and her gardens are being studied, restored, and opened to the public. A long-awaited updated edition of the 2009 definitive monograph, Beatrix Farrand: Garden Artist, Landscape Architect chronicles the life and work of one of the most important figures in American landscape architecture.
Born into a prominent New York family (she was Edith Wharton’s niece), Farrand designed lavish gardens for the leaders of society, including the Harknesses, the Rockefellers, and the Blisses. Ultimately, her portfolio extended to college and university campuses, including Princeton, Yale, and the University of Chicago, and public gardens, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden among them. Her best-known design is the landscape at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., originally a private residence with extensive grounds and now a research center for Harvard University surrounded by a naturalistic park restored and maintained by the National Park Service. Deeply influenced by the English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, Farrand was known for broad expanses of lawn with deep swaths of borders planted in a subtle palette of foliage and flowers. In her public work, she adapted this design strategy to create paths and plantings that define the character of the space and the hecirculation through it.
Heavily illustrated with archival images and photographs of her gardens at their peak—many taken especially for this book, Beatrix Farrand: Garden Artist, Landscape Architect also displays beautiful watercolor wash renderings of her designs, now preserved at College of Environmental Design of the University of California at Berkeley. The new edition includes updated images that reflect the current state of gardens including the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, the International House Courtyard at the University of Chicago, Garland Farm (Farrand’s last home and garden, which has recently been restored), Dumbarton Oaks, Dumbarton Oaks Park (which was not included in the first edition), among others.
The book concludes with a comprehensive list of Farrand’s commissions and the gardens open to the public, providing direction for further study and exploration. It also features a new preface outlining the milestones in research since the first edition’s publication, updated details about ownership and renovations of many properties, and a revised bibliography including articles and books published over the past ten years.
Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Farrand’s birth and written by landscape historian and preservation consultant Judith B. Tankard, Beatrix Farrand: Garden Artist, Landscape Architect takes readers on a tour of Farrand’s finest works, celebrating her influence on succeeding generations of women landscape architects.
Praise for Beatrix Farrand
"Well-researched, well-photographed, and beautifully produced volume on the life and career of a real garden artist and hero."
—The New York Botanical Garden
"This well written and deeply researched book . . . will surely remain the standard work on Beatrix Farrand for years to come."
"This book brings to life the gardens of a nascent and grand American landscape style, influenced by European gardens, modified for the nouveaux riches . . . For English majors, this book does double duty as a companion to Aunt Edith [Wharton's] novels."
—The New York Times Sunday Book Review
"[Farrand] gets her due in this lovely coffee-table book filled with her meticulous plans, archival photographs and lovely illustrations."
—The Chicago Tribune
"[An] authoritative biography . . . the writing is well researched [and] refreshingly spare."
"[This book] is thoughtfully presented by a scholar who is both rigorous and intuitive . . . and it’s beautiful."
"You certainly won’t be disappointed with the new book by Judith Tankard. It’s a welcome addition to the genre, written in an easy to read style, and it covers all the important facts and facets in the life of a most fascinating woman."
—Garden Design Online
“An essential read . . . highlights the designer’s finest works.”
“[This] new book about her life and work resonated deeply with me.”
—Steele Marcoux, Veranda
“A definitive look at Farrand’s life and the lasting impact of her amazing gardens.”
“A lavishly-illustrated biography.”
“Offer[s] design inspiration.”
“Richly illustrated with historical images, garden plans and many new photographs, Tankard’s book is a fitting tribute to Farrand. . . The unfinished projects of her final years, which are succinctly recounted by Tankard, are key to understanding Farrand and appreciating her legacy, the impact of which blooms anew with the release of this book.”
—1stdibs Introspective Magazine
“Meet the unsung heroine of the nation’s most celebrated gardens.”
“Thanks to author Judith B. Tankard, you can learn more about this celebrated garden artist/landscape architect, who happened to be Edith Wharton's niece. Impeccable design taste must've run in the family!”
“Exhaustive in her research and her presentation of the social and cultural importance of gardens and gardeners, Tankard’s new Beatrix Farrand: Garden Artist, Landscape Architect does not disappoint in its fresh perspectives on the role of horticulture and gardens in our cultural evolutions and adaptations.”
“A beautifully illustrated tome.”
—Luxe Interiors + Design