- A completely revised new edition of gifted amateur garden art-historian Georgina Masson's classic text alongside her original photographs, which have been kept until now in the archives of the American Academy in Rome. Includes many new images Originally published in 1961 as a complementary study to Geoffrey Jellicoe's architectural work Italian Gardens of the Renaissance, this book is intended to present a layman's point of view on the subject. It provides immediate first impressions of the countless pleasures that are a feast to the senses, while providing a comprehensive background to the gardens, their antecedents and history. Tracing a line through the history and topography of Italy, Mary Johnson, writing under the pseudonym of Georgina Masson, picks out the finest examples of gardens dating from the Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque periods. Primarily, it is a masterpiece of photography, evoking fond memories for those who have already visited the gardens and persuasive to those who have not.
Secondly, it is a very able study of the history of Italian gardens from their inception in ancient Rome to the triumphs of the Baroque; no one who encountered Mary when on the full flight of research will forget her total dedication to the subject.
Georgina Masson (Marion Johnson, 1912-1980) was born in the Far East. A widely- travelled English citizen, she established herself in Rome in the 1940s and remained in Italy until 1978. A scholar and excellent photographer, she was a profound conoisseur of Rome and her classic work, The Companion Guide to Rome (1965), is still in print today. She is also the author of two books on Italian architecture, both of which have been translated into several languages; Italian Villas and Palaces (1959) and Italian Villas and Gardens (1961). The American Academy in Rome, which she often visited, holds the negatives of her beautiful black and white photographs. Margherita Azzi Visentini is Professor of History of Architecture and History of Gardens and Landscape at the Politecnico of Milan. She has been Visiting Professor at the Center for landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, and at the CASVA at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.