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This new biography of John Evelyn, diarist, scholar and intellectual virtuoso (1620-1706), is the first account to make full use of Evelyn's huge unpublished archive deposited at the British Library in 1995.
This crucial source permits a broader and richer picture of Evelyn, his life and his friendships, than permitted by his own celebrated diaries. Gillian Darley provides a rounded portrait of Evelyn's eighty-five years, his family life first at Sayes Court, Deptford, and later at Wotton, in Surrey, his exile in Paris, his interests and his preoccupations.
Evelyn tackled questions ranging from smoke pollution and the environment, gardening and architecture, to town planning and popular science, libraries and fashion, politics, trade and the visual arts. Evelyn's life held religious devotion at its very centre. Yet as a key figure in the Royal Society from its foundation, he viewed Christianity and the new science as wholly compatible. He published the first mezzotint, devised schemes for two great Royal hospitals, and created famous gardens.