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This paper will explore how Meiji and Victorian/Edwardian era politics shaped how respective garden and park design ideas were transmitted and interpreted in Japan and Britain. It will discuss how the social forums of the Asiatic Society of Japan and Japan Society, London were crucial in the transmission of elements of Japanese-style gardening to Britain. In addition the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 and its political motivations were also crucial in shaping the design of gardens, particularly at the Japan-British exhibition in 1910. It will also discuss how the Edo/Meiji-era gardening knowledge of self-styled experts in Japan known as niwashi strongly informed influential works on the subject such as Josiah Conder’s Landscape Gardening in Japan (1893), which in turn shaped how these gardens were understood in Britain. This was not a one-way process however, as Japan modernised after exiting a long period of isolation; British and European ideas were similarly used in Japanese parks and gardens. The reasons underpinning this exchange will be explored.

Luke Schoppler completed by PhD at the University of Derby in 2020 since when he has been working in libraries at the University of Nottingham. He will start the process of converting his doctoral thesis into a book in the near future.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend but booking is required.