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Der malerische Landschaftspark in Laxenburg bei Wien

Posted on January 25th, 2010 by Charles Boot

Géza Hajós (ed.), Der malerische Landschaftspark in Laxenburg bei Wien (Vienna: Böhlau, 2006), 365 pp., illus. in colour and black-and-white, €69.00 (hbk), ISBN 3-205-77444-2

Laxenburg is, alongside Schönbrunn, the second most important historic designed landscape in Austria, and this book is the most in-depth monograph of any within the country thus far. Situated near Vienna, this formerly imperial park and garden was originally a Habsburg hunting ground surrounding a medieval castle. However, after it had been connected with a straight avenue to Schönbrunn, the convenient new route led to its increased status as an imperial residence, and soon after the focus was on the gardens. In the 1750s, a Baroque layout was cut through existing woodland. The most significant phase however was the jardin anglais that was initiated after Emperor Joseph II visited Ermenonville in 1777, and which was continued by Emperor Franz II (r.1792–1835), a passionate gardener. These phases created one of the most spectacular romantic gardens in Central Europe, enriched by a wealth of follies.

This book chronicles these developments by careful analysis of each stage, using plans and drawings by various designers, and a wide range of artist’s impressions, which are well reproduced. The connections with leading international garden designers of the time are well illustrated. Together with an accessibly written scholarly text by a series of specialists, and an extensive appendix with transcriptions of original sources, this volume provides an impressive document that must be consulted by anyone interested in the interpretation and representation of the English landscape garden in Europe.

Jan Woudstra
Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield

35:1 (Summer 2007)

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