Publication of the Diaries - How did it all begin for Harold Peto?


Harold Peto as a young man in Venice in 1890


In spite of the recognition he has received, both in his lifetime and more recently, very little documentation has hitherto been published to substantiate how his knowledge and enthusiasm for garden making evolved as part of his working life. It is therefore now particularly significant that to compensate for this lack of biographical evidence, his Travel Diaries, by agreement with the owners, are being published  by Cwareli Press, to give us a fascinating insight into the man, his background and the sources of his inspiration - all are brought into focus for the first time.



Harold Peto's Travel diaries, 1887 to 1898

These important documents offer a very personal view of his life during the 1880s and '90s. The diaries in themselves being descriptive and amusing, are an evocative reflection of the experience of late nineteenth century travellers, while at the same time illuminating what was to become his essential and characteristic style of gardening, that which matured and blossomed, following his decision to leave London and his architectural partnership with Ernest George in 1892.



The published diaries and those to come


Already published: Italy 1887 (2011), America 1887 and Spain 1888 (2012), Italy 1888 and France and Italy 1889 and Greece and Turkey 1891 (2013), Egypt 1892-93 (2014), Italy 1895: Sicily/Venice (2014), Germany and Italy 1896 (2015), Far East Part I: France to China 1898 (2016) and Far East Part II: Japan to Canada 1898 (2017). 

 The following diaries are forthcoming: France (Brittany) 1898 and Holland 1881.

All the diaries are introduced by Robin Whalley who has over many years lectured and written extensively on the work of Harold Peto. He has, with the acknowledged help of other scholars, transcribed the diaries, editing where necessary, and giving a background and a context for the people referred to, in some cases just acquaintances, and in others, part of a wider group of lifetime friends or family. The footnotes have been kept to a minimum and only supplied when the text needs further clarification.

Each of the diaries is being published as a separate  booklet adhering to a uniform size and style so that the set brought together will provide a unique insight into Harold Peto's formative years.