The landscape garden was a great English innovation. In place of the formal patterns, clipped hedges and straight lines that were in vogue throughout Europe, William Kent introduced a new concept in the 1730s: a 'natural' garden full of variety, drama and surprise. Examples will be drawn in the lecture from gardens at Rousham, Claremont, Painshill and Stowe, and from the ever-ingenious designs of Humphry Repton. However, did the origins of the landscape garden lie elsewhere? Two imperial gardens of 18th century China may have helped to shape the great gardens of Georgian England.