– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.



Emeritus Fellows of Balliol Prof Diego Zancani and John Prest, with their guests Dr Yutaka Akagawa, Professor Emeritus of Meiji Gakuin University (Tokyo) and Dr Keiichi Matsudaira, Professor at Tokyo Denki University, came to visit the Historic Collections Centre this week. Both Professor Akagawa and Professor Matsudaira have written and lectured extensively on the history of English gardens, and garden history was the focus of the day.

Items produced were:

  • John Rea’s Flora: seu De Florum Cultura. Or, A Complete Florilege, furnished With all Requisites belonging to a Florist (London, 1665) (a facsimile is available here)
  • John Evelyn’s Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions, to which is annexed Pomona, or an Appendix concerning fruit-trees, In relation to cider, The Making and several ways of Ordering it.  Also Kalendarium Hortense: or, The gard’ners almanac, directing what he is to do monthly through-out the year. And what fruits and flowers are in prime (1664)
  • David Loggan’s C17 bird’s eye view of Balliol and
  • Williams’ C18 plan of the Broad St site, which emphasises formal gardens so much that I suspect it may be a never-realised grand scheme!

Professors Akagawa and Matsudaira enjoyed seeing first editions of texts they had known so well for decades but had never seen in the original before. Stay tuned for more of Balliol’s garden history as Prof Zancani and our head gardener, Chris Munday, continue their research…

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