Peter Willis Papers

Scope and Content

Working materials for Dr. Willis's researches on landscape architecture and gardens and architectural history. They include substantial sections on Charles Bridgeman and the English landscape garden, especially Bridgeman's work at Stowe, WilliamKent, Capability Brown, and evidence in banking records for landscape and architectural history, all subjects on which Dr. Willis has published extensively. They also include over 80 files on other landscapegardeners, architects, artists and patrons, over 100 files on individual English estates and gardens, and a smaller group of subject files on such subjects as gardening tools and techniques,French, German and Italian gardens, Chinoiserie, and thepicturesque.

The contents of the collection are chiefly photographs and negatives, transcripts and facsimiles of manuscript sources, correspondence, notes, bibliographical references, offprints, guidebooks, pamphlets, etc. More substantial printed booksincluded in the gift have been incorporated in the University Library's printed book collections, but are listed in the catalogue to the collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter Willis was educated at the universities of Durham and Cambridge (Ph.D. 1962), where his thesis on Charles Bridgeman: royal gardener was supervised by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. After a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California in 1960/61, he practised as an architect in Edinburgh from 1961-1964. Heheld a fellowship at Harvard University in 1964/65, and then taught at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne as lecturer in architecture 1966-1979, and reader in the history of architecture 1979-1993. He was awarded the degree of D.Litt. by theUniversity of Durham in 1992. His publications include several books and numerous articles and contributions to books on architectural and landscape history.


Grouped by topic.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Dr. Willis in several instalments, 1994-2010.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Willis, Peter, Charles Bridgeman and the English landscape garden (London, 1977)

Geographical Names