Friday, March 5, 2010

Landscapes of the 1950s


Also, I'll be speaking about 'atomic gardens' at a study day on landscapes of the 1950s to be held at my alma mater, the University of Bristol on April 24.  I'd love to meet my UK readers so register soon by sending an email to the conference organizer, Dr Katie Campbell, at katie@gardenhistoryinstitute.co.uk.

Here's the brief from the website of the Institute for Garden and Landscape History:

This study day takes a cross cultural look at Britain in the 1950s to see if the decade produced a unique and distinctive style.  The title recalls a response to the Skylon, the futurisitic sculpture that epitomised the 1951 Festival of Britain; predictably, the phrase was soon applied to the nation itself.  While America emerged from the Second World War as 'the Affluent Society', Britain had to buckle down to a period of ‘reconstruction and regeneration’.  It was the era of milk bars and dance halls, slacks and cigarettes, spies and sputnik, cocktails and carnivals; it saw the rise of the Cold War and the death of the Debutante.  The Festival of Britain, followed two years later by the Coronation gave rise to a self-conscious patriotism and by 1957 Harold Macmillan could finally assure his people, ‘You’ve never had it so good!’  Examining key figures in visual arts, architecture and garden design we will attempt to tease out preoccupations, themes and motifs to determine if there really is a 50s style, and if so, what it looked like. 

[photo is the 'Skylon' installation from the 1951 Festival of Britain]

6 comments:

Matti said...

I know a lot of the gardens here in San Francisco were heavy on the water. You can see remnants of those front yards and gardens...I say bits and pieces because they just need too much water and do not get maintained well. Matti

Kimberly said...

Landscapes in 1950...seems photos show mostly shrubs. Hmmmm! Interesting!

Carol said...

Interesting blog. I have google alerts set for "Debutantes in 1950" because of the novel I'm writing (to take place in Charlotte, NC in 1950 where Debutante Balls had just gotten started.) So why do you say that Debutantes were dead in 1950? Assuming you're writing from the UK- perhaps it was different there. Also this looks like a new blog, so good luck with it!

Todd Haiman said...

Hello! Have enjoyed your blog for some time now. I received my MS in Landscape Design from Columbia U, not aware of a University that offers one in Garden History... are there many?

You might find a few recent posts I did on pre-war Germany of interest.
http://thlandscapedesign.blogspot.com/2010/03/blood-soil.html

Happy Spring weather if your in the Northeast!

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