Bettina Harden, The Most Glorious Prospect, Graffeg

Bettina Harden

Bettina Harden spent her working life as a publisher of books on art, architecture and design. As an historic garden owner with a passion for garden history, she has brought many years of research into her first book about garden visiting in Wales. Bettina was Chair of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust 1997-2003 and founder Chair of the Trustees of The Gateway Gardens Trust, the first charity devoted to extending access to heritage through social inclusion.

Bettina gained her MA in Garden History from the University of Buckingham in 2014.

Bettina published her book The Most Glorious Prospect with Graffeg in October 2017. The Most Glorious Prospect reveals the historic gardens of Wales as experienced by contemporary visitors during the 17th and 18th century.


The Most Glorious Prospect by Bettina Harden

Reveals the history of garden visiting in Wales between the years 1639-1900 – a bygone era of garden visiting brought to life using travellers’ diaries, letters and experiences. Bettina Harden documents the historic gardens of Wales as experienced by contemporary travellers in a book that is endlessly fascinating, intricately detailed and delightfully humorous. This is an authoritative insight into how the great gardens were first made accessible to the polite world, before being opened up to a wider middle-class audience.

ISBN: 9781910862629, £30
Publication 19 October 2017


Author Event and Book Signing: The Most Glorious Prospect: Garden Visiting in Wales 1639-1900

Picton Castle, Haverfordwest
21 April, 11am-12:30pm (refreshments served from 10:30am)

Bettina Harden will be in conversation with Tom Lloyd OBE, FSA, followed by a book signing.
Tickets £5, to redeem against price of book (£30).
To book, call 01437 751326 or email


The Most Glorious Prospect by Bettina Harden featured in Country Life magazine
The Most Glorious Prospect, Bettina Harden, Country Life, Magazine, Graffeg

The Most Glorious Prospect received a highly positive review from leading publication Country Life in its 3 January 2018 issue.

Huon Mallalieu immediately identified the vast bredth of Bettina Harden’s research, as well as its originality, noting that: ‘Despite the digging that has been done in this extensive documentary midden, Bettina Harden has found much rich compost that has not been turned before.’

The reviewer goes on to discuss the tragectory and scope of the book, beginning with the early visits of botanists during the 17th-century. The growth in antiquarian passion over the next hundred years brought the first real tourism to Wales from the upper and later the middle classes, with its magnificent houses and gardens a key attraction. These sights were well documented visually as well as in text, as the reviewer relates, with The Most Glorious Prospect‘s range of original art works adding extra depth.

Bettina Harden serves as an ‘equally admirable guide’ to any of those active when garden tourism was at its hight, with Mallalieu concluding: ‘Not only does she marshall her many sources judiciously, blending them into an easy narrative, but she wields a sprightly pen, conveying infor-mation with eleagence…The result is a beautiful and authoratative book.’