A contemporary of the famous landscape designer `Capability' Brown, Richard Woods has never received the recognition he deserves: in contrast to Brown, he emphasised the pleasure ground and kitchen garden, with a more pronounced use of flowers than was general among the landscape improvers of his time. He liked variety and incident in his plans and, where he was employed on a larger scale, the encroachment of the pleasure ground into the park created the Woodsian "pleasure park".
In this important work of detection and biography, Fiona Cowell analyses his designs, and explores his activities as a plantsman, a determined amateur architect and a farmer. In particular, she shows the difficulties he found as a Catholic living in penal times, examining the difficulties encountered by both Woods and his Catholic patrons, and placing the man and his work in their wider social and economic context. Unjustly neglected in the past, he is here given his rightful place among the creators of the English landscape style.