Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John Claudius Loudon
Loudon was born in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland to a respectable farmer. Therefore as he was growing up, he developed a practical knowledge of plants and farming. As a young man, Loudon studied chemistry, botany and agriculture at the University of Edinburgh.
Around 1803, Loudon published an article entitled Observations on Laying out the Public Spaces in London in a literary journal. In this article, he recommended the introduction of lighter trees rather than those with dense canopies. Loudon was attacked by rheumatic fever in 1806 which left him crippled, but this illness did not affect his writing. As his condition deteriorated over time, Loudon was forced to use the services of a draughtsman and other aids.
Beginning in 1808, Loudon was employed by the notable General Stratton to landscape and farm his property, Tew Park , where Loudon was able to set up a school for young men to be instructed in theory of farming and modes of cultivating soil. Loudon’s design was a model of efficiency and convenience reflected in elegance and refinement. In conjunction with the goals of diffusing agricultural knowledge, Loudon published a pamphlet entitled The Utility of Agricultural Knowledge to the Sons of the Landed Proprietors of Great Britain, &c., by a Scotch Farmer and Land-Agent.
After traveling through Europe from 1813 to 1814, Loudon began to focus on the improvement of the construction of greenhouses and other agricultural systems. He ultimately developed a design for hinged surfaces that could be adjusted depending on the angle of the Sun. Loudon also developed plans for industrial worker housing and solar heating systems.
Loudon established himself as a city planner, decades before Frederick Law Olmsted and others began to work. His vision for the possibility of long term planning for London’s green spaces was illustrated within his work, Hints for Breathing Places for Metropolis published in 1829. He envisioned city growth being carefully shaped and circulation influenced by the inclusion of greenbelts.
In 1832, Loudon established the design theory entitled Gardenesque. In this style, attention was given to the individual plant and placement in the best conditions for them to grow to their potential. 19th century thought was punctuated by the belief that gardens should not mimic nature, so Gardenesque offered a solution by introducing exotics into gardens and basing layouts on abstract shapes.
Loudon was a prolific horticultural and landscape design writer. His first published was The Encyclopedia of Gardening in 1822. After its success Loudon published The Encyclopedia of Agriculture in 1825. He founded the Gardener’s Magazine, the first periodical devoted solely to horticulture, in 1826. A short time later, he commenced the Magazine of Natural History in 1928.
Loudon’s other publications include: • The Encyclopedias of Plants (1828) • The Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm, Villa Architecture (1834) • Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum (1838) • Suburban Gardener (1838) • The Encyclopedias of Trees and Shrubs (1842) • Cemeteries (1843)
Through his publications, Loudon was hoping to have a far-reaching influence and spread his ideals of the creation of common space and the improvement of city planning and develop an awareness and interest in agriculture and horticulture. Through his magazines and works, he was able to communicate to the gentile as well as other professionals.
Loudon labored under the belief that public improvements should be undertaken in a democratic fashion and in a comprehensive reasonable manner, not sporadically by the benevolence of the wealthy. In 1839, he was commissioned to design the Arboretum at Derby. In commissions such as this, Loudon was able to display the principles that he advocated in his many publications. In this space, Loudon attempted to consider the general public and their hardships and create a space where the classes could mingle easily as well as creating community pride. In order to reach his goal of creating educational environments, the planting were labeled extensively. Loudon’s design for the Derby Arboretum served as inspiration for the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. In December of 1843 John Loudon died of a disease in the lungs.
Prominent Loudon Designs
- The Birmingham Botanical Gardens
- Derby Arboretum, Derby City
- Harewood House, West Yorkshire
- Abbey Cemetery, Bath and North East Somerset
- Ditchley, Oxfordshire
- Garth, The, Guilsfield, Powys
- Stradsett Hall, Norfolk
Rogers, Elizabeth B. (2001). Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architecture History. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
Thompson, I. (2003). 19th Century Design. Retrieved September 23, 2004 from 
Turner, Tom. (&). Introduction to John Claudius Loudon’s 1829 plan for London. Retrieved September 23, 2004 from 
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