I recently added Kendall Brown’s Quiet Beauty to my growing collection of books on Japanese gardens and have been very happy with the purchase. I have come to expect excellent photography in such books and Quiet Beauty does not disappoint. The accompanying text is also substantial and informative. I was particularly fond of Brown’s choice to group the gardens into several historical periods beginning with those with roots in the World’s Fairs of the late nineteenth century and running through gardens of more recent vintage where there has been a unification of Japanese tradition with the climate and tastes of North America. I have not seen this perspective offered in other books on this subject and found it to add significantly to my appreciation of the gardens I have visited.
For those who might wish to use the book to plan visits, Brown has made an excellent selection in terms of quality and geography. At least 15 of the gardens described have appeared among the top 25 Japanese gardens in North America as rated by the editors of the Journal of Japanese Gardening. Unfortunately one of my favorites, Asticou, in Northeast Harbor, ME, is not covered although this is a minor deficiency in an otherwise fine book.
It might be noted that Japanese gardens, more than any others, are sensitive to rigorous upkeep and maintenance especially skilled pruning. Brown alludes to this in several descriptions (e.g. Shofuso whose quality has varied over the years with interest and funding). More recently I found that Tenshin’en at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts had deteriorated significantly from the condition presented in Brown’s text. Hopefully the attention that this book generates will lead to more consistent efforts to preserve these valuable national treasures.
- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Tuttle Shokai Inc; Hardcover with Jacket edition (1 March 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 4805311959
- ISBN-13: 978-4805311950
- Product Dimensions:: 26.7 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
- Customer reviews: 29 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: 11,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)