Appearing in the nick of time to celebrate the tercentenary of John Evelyn’s death in 1706, Gillian Darley’s biography is a welcome monument to this remarkable figure. Born into a wealthy Surrey landed family, Evelyn enjoyed a younger son’s freedom and resources to take advantage of it. Endowed with a relentless enthusiasm for art, architecture, science, and the environment, Evelyn’s self-absorption led him to record his life in enormous detail. This makes him a crucial witness to his personal and professional experiences and also ‘the extraordinary events and revolutions’ of his time.
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