PhD student explores Cambridge archives on Chinese gardens

Josepha Richards in the Joseph Needham Institute, Cambridge

Department of Landscape PhD student Josepha Richards has spent a week exploring the archives of a Chinese garden scholar, having been awarded a study grant from the Landscape Research Group.

Josepha spent one week in the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, looking at the archives of R. Stewart Johnston, the author of Scholar gardens of China: a study and analysis of the spatial design of the Chinese private garden (1991).

Johnston was the first scholar to introduce the gardens of Lingnan (near Guangzhou) in the Western world. His archives contained numerous photographs of Chinese buildings and gardens that are since either no longer existing or modified by renovation. Josepha was able to establish a draft catalogue of the collection and collect materials for her thesis on Lingnan gardens.

The Needham Institute is the home of Science and Civilisation in China project, and houses the East Asian History of Science Library as well as scholars from the University of Cambridge. Thanks to John Moffett, the librarian of Needham Institute, Josepha had unlimited access to the Johnston archive.