GHS Annual Essay Prize
9th Annual Essay Prize, 2013
Katie Campbell, Chair of Judges, writes:
The 2013 GHS essay prize has been won by Jane Whitaker, a PhD student at Bristol University, for her fascinating essay, The Old Arcadia, The Garden of the First Earl of Pembroke at Wilton.
While much is known about the later garden at Wilton, this essay takes a fresh look at the site and unearths a forgotten Renaissance garden. Whitaker has placed her subject well within the cultural context of the time, with frequent references to contemporary poetry and politics, while the garden itself is convincingly analysed against the framework of Elizabethan rural estates. The essay is well researched and well argued, making excellent use of archival and cartographic sources; what most impressed the judges, however, is the way Whitaker challenges accepted wisdom and breaks new ground, making a real contribution to our knowledge of Renaissance horticulture in general and of Wilton in particular.
This year’s entries covered an impressive range of subjects, from Victorian artists’ gardens, through classical iconography in C18 landscape parks to a study of the role of the Thompson family in English horticulture, but despite such riches, the judges’ choice was unanimous.
The Society will launch its tenth Annual Essay Prize in the Autumn of 2013. The prize is open to any student registered in a bona fide university or institute of higher education, or any student who has graduated from such an institute in the past twelve months; either in garden history or from related departments such as geography, art history, history, architecture and archaeology.
Submissions should be from 5000 to 6000 words and the only restriction on subject matter is that it must be of relevance to garden history. The Society’s Essay Prize was established to encourage vibrant, scholarly research and writing and these qualities should be reflected in winning entries.
The prize includes an award of £250, free membership of the Society for a year and consideration for publication in the peer-reviewed, scholarly journal Garden History. All previous winners have been accepted for publication and often the best of the non-winning entries are invited to submit to the journal; entries from previous year’s competitions are currently in preparation for publication in forthcoming issues, or have already been published.
The Essay Prize is supported by NFU Mutual