In the Gardens of Impressionism

Clare Willsdon

A colorful excursion through the French Impressionists’ gardens, from Courbet and Degas to Renoir and Manet


In the Gardens of Impressionism fully explores—from Manet’s Tuileries to Monet’s Giverny—with dazzling visual accompaniment, the Impressionist love affair with the new thinking about garden and landscape design that swept nineteenth-century France.

Author Clare Willsdon discusses the artists’ complementary roles as painters and as gardeners, and offers exciting new interpretations of their art, informed by source material such as popular gardening manuals of the day. She also looks at the garden, public or private, as a new kind of space with political undertones, and relates it to the Impressionists’ adoption of plein-air techniques. In her analysis of specific works, their historical and horticultural context is presented in a clear, informative, and engaging manner including musings from such literary figures as Baudelaire, Duranty, Daudet, and Zola. Lively discussion of the artists’ private lives gives the text another satisfying perspective.


Clare Willsdon


Clare Willsdon is Professor of the History of Western Art at the University of Glasgow. She has made a special study of the relationship between the artistic and literary worlds in nineteenth-century France. Her book Mural Painting in Britain 1840-1940 was awarded the prize for the best single-authored book in 2002-2003 by the American Historians of British Art.