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The Glasshouse


Price: £45.00


by John Hix

When John Ruskin attempted to disparage the Crystal Palace by referring to it as a "great cucumber frame", he hit upon a truism. The Crystal Palace outdid its Victorian glasshouse contemporaries in public gardens around the world and represented the zenith of a building type that had developed spectacularly from humble horticultural roots. The Glasshouse traces the evolution of glass enclosures from the mid-seventeenth century when the desire to nurture exotic plants in a foreign and often hostile climate led to the development of the glasshouse and ingenious mechanical servicing systems, capable of creating its own artificial microclimate.

Through tremendous technical advances in the early nineteenth century, large-scale constructions were built initially for private individuals and botanical societies. Towards the mid-century, with the advent of mass production and specialist component systems, the fashioning of modular constructions, like the Crystal Palace, became possible. The Glasshouse charts the work of innovators such as Joseph Paxton and J C Loudon, and proceeds to examine their influence on the pioneers of twentieth-century design such as Paul Scheerbart and Bruno Taut.

THE GLASSHOUSE is richly illustrated from a wealth of historic and contemporary etchings, lithographs and photographs. It will appeal to the specialist and the enthusiastic gardener alike.

This book originally published in 1974 has been extensively revised and rewritten for the modern reader.

240 paperback hardback 350 illustrations