1st Edition

Ornamental Lakes Their Origins and Evolution in English Landscapes

By Wendy Bishop Copyright 2021
    302 Pages 15 Color & 150 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    302 Pages 15 Color & 150 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    302 Pages 15 Color & 150 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ornamental Lakes traces the history of lakes in England, from their appearance in the early eighteenth century, through their development in the 1750s, and finally to their decline in the nineteenth century. Aside from the natural lakes in the Lake District, the bodies of water we see in England today are man-made, primarily intended to ornament the landscapes of the upper classes.

    Through detailed research, author Wendy Bishop argues that, contrary to accepted thinking, the development of lakes led to the dissolution of formal landscapes rather than following changes in landscape design. Providing a comprehensive overview of lakes in England, including data on who made these lakes, how, and when, it additionally covers fishponds, water gardens, cascades and reservoirs.

    Richly illustrated and accompanied by case studies across the region, this book offers new insights in landscape history for students, researchers and those interested in how landscapes evolve.

    1. Introduction 2. The Ancestors of Lakes 3. The Emergence of Lakes 4. The Making of Lakes 5. The Lake Makers 6. Why Lakes Emerged 7. Lakes in the Nineteenth Century 8. Conclusion


    Wendy Bishop. After a career in teaching, including Malawian secondary schools, and teaching children with behavioural difficulties, she received a stern health warning and retrained, doing degrees in garden design and garden history. This was followed by a PhD on ornamental lakes at the University of East Anglia. She is now an independent researcher. Alongside lakes, her research interests include the history of reservoirs and their evolving uses and modes of construction.

    "Wendy Bishop’s exciting new book takes a radical new approach to garden history. Rather than concentrating on a particular chronological period or group of artists, she focuses on the development, over time, of a particular aspect of landscape design, the construction and design of lakes and other large water bodies. Meticulously researched and carefully integrated with wider narratives in garden history, this scholarly work casts a mass of new light on the designed landscapes of post-medieval England."

    —Tom Williamson, Professor of Landscape History, University of East Anglia, UK

    "From fishponds to water gardens, cascades, lakes and reservoirs, this pioneering study is the first to trace the emergence and development of water in the designed landscape. Copiously illustrated and with a wealth of scholarly research presented in an engaging and accessible style, it will be required reading for anyone interested in landscape and garden history."

    —Timothy Mowl, Emeritus Professor of History of Architecture and Designed Landscapes, University of Bristol, UK

    "This is a fascinating study of the use of water in the designed landscape. While focusing on the man-made lakes of the eighteenth-century landscape park, it ranges from medieval moats and millponds to modern reservoirs. Encompassing economics, politics, aesthetics, topography and geology, Ornamental Lakes is both lively and scholarly, and a delight to read."

    —Katie Campbell, Garden Historian

    "This survey of lake-making is most welcome, focussing on a subject that has received surprisingly little attention given the central importance of lakes in 18th-century British landscape gardens. The author illuminates the development, impact and range of lakes, the changing use of terminology and the practicalities of construction."

    —Michael Symes, Garden Historian