‘English Gardens’ or ‘English Gardening’?

Trusler, John. The Garden-Companion oder der Garten-Gesellschafter und immerwährender Garten-Kalender für Herren und Damen… Mit Kupfern. Aus dem Engl. übersetzt, nach der siebenden Ausgabe.

Leipzig, Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, 1795.

16mo (10.5 x 9 cm). (8), 181 pp, (1), plus 3 numbered engraved plates. Early 20th century marbled boards. An excellent copy, clean and fresh throughout; fore-edge with traces of green staining.


Extremely rare first German edition of a comparably rare English gardening manual, no doubt inspired by the Europe-wide craze for ‘English Gardens’ which began to sweep Germany in the 1770s and culminated in the Englischer Garten in Munich (opened in 1789). KvK and OCLC combined record just 3 copies worldwide, at the BSB, BnF, and the University of Basel; the English original (ESTC T40422) is similarly known in just two copies, at the BL and the NLS. The preface to the present work follows the English preface closely in suggesting that the reader carry it in his pocket when out for a walk in his or her garden, when it can be conveniently referred to for points of information – perhaps explaining its poor survival rate overall.

Trusler gives month-by-month directions for the care of the various divisions of his reader’s estate: the Kitchen-Garden, the Fruit-Garden, the Green-House, and of course the Flower-Garden. The three engraved plates found here are closely based off of the in-text woodcuts of the English edition. Although Trusler’s practical manual bears little relation to the doctrines of aesthetically-minded landscape enthusiasts like William Kent (1685-1748), the eye-catching title-page, with the title partly printed in a decidedly English font, was presumably meant to play off of the general Anglomanie and widespread interest in all things English during the Hanoverian monarchy.

As the title-page notes, the Garten-Gesellschafter was translated from the seventh English edition. Curiously, the ESTC fails to record any earlier English edition than that; but OCLC shows 1775 (first?), 1782, and 1788 editions all surviving in a single copy each. As noted above, this German edition is also very rare; a second German edition appeared in 1796 and is more widely-held in German institutions, but is unrecorded in any American library.

VD18 90436636; on the English original cf Henrey, British botanical and horticultural literature before 1800, 735 and ESTC T40422.

Art.-Nr.: BN#53578 Schlagwörter: ,