Gardens and Places of Pleasure in Shakespeare’s London
William Shakespeare lived in London during the decades before and after the turn of the 17th century, a ‘golden age’ for the city. While London had become overcrowded, increasingly squalid and plague-ridden, it was also the epicentre of wealth, opportunity and fashion. Courtiers and aristocrats, aware of the benefits of royal patronage and the amusements of the metropolis, acquired grand mansions, which they complemented with fine gardens and orchards. Although very little survives, we can create a vivid picture of the ‘flower of Cities all’ by analysing the earliest maps of the city, portraiture, decorative arts and costume, architecture and finally the larger urban landscape.