The Magic of Kew by James Bartholomew
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, rich in architectural and horticultural treasures, are among the most beloved of the world's gardens. Each year more than a million visitors explore the grounds and the greenhouses, seeking the beauty, the peace, the knowledge that this living laboratory and pleasure garden can give. One of the great attractions of Kew is the air of permanence that comes in large part from those architectural features that have survived the centuries, creating an oasis in a sea of change. James Bartholomew, a young Scottish-American, is perhaps the ideal photographer for Kew. At once self-taught and classic in his approach, he has spent three years compiling this timeless portrait. His photographs are carefully composed still-lifes, perceptive studies of historic buildings: the 1848 Palm House (now dismantled for restoration), the Temperate House, the splendid Pagoda. And of great trees: the whorled branches of a Norfolk Island pine, the roots of the beech at Rock Walk in Kew's Wakehurst Place gardens. Bartholomew uses Ansel Adams' Zone System for analyzing tonal range, and his photographs partake of the clarity and faithfulness of Adams' own. The Magic of Kew is an extraordinary folio of 100 beautifully realized images, bringing to us the famous and the little known in Kew, revealing a wealth of architectural detail as well as the nobility of trees and landscapes that have delighted generations of visitors. And now many of these images serve as memorials to great and ancient trees that are no more, trees destroyed by the terrible hurricane that so ravaged Kew in October of 1987. James Bartholomew was born in New York in 1960. He studied at the Parsons School of Design and at the New School for Social Research, and settled in England in 1984. His photographs have been exhibited in both the United States and in England.