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COMING NEXT MONTH: ARTHUR A. SHURCLIFF AND THE CREATION OF THE COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG LANDSCAPE

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | Posted by lalh

Arthur Asahel Shurcliff (1870–1957) worked in the office of Frederick Law Olmsted in Brookline, Massachusetts, for more than seven years before establishing a regional practice. An idiosyncratic and brilliant designer, Shurcliff prepared plans for towns surrounding Boston and for several industrial communities. He designed recreational spaces in and around Boston, including significant aspects of the Franklin Park Zoo and the Charles River Esplanade. In 1928, Shurcliff began what became one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape – Colonial Williamsburg, his largest and most significant contribution to American landscape architecture.

Clockwise from top left: Arthur Shurcliff at home in Ipswich, NY.; Teenage Arthur in his father’s workshop; Shurcliff (center, front) with other apprentices of the Olmsted offices, c. 1890s; Stone tower and bridge designed for the Rock Garden, Franklin Park Zoo, Boston. Private collection; New Governor’s Palace; and Costumed hostess in the Boxwood Garden. Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Clockwise from top left: Arthur Shurcliff at home in Ipswich, NY; Teenage Arthur in his father’s workshop; Shurcliff (center, front) with other apprentices of the Olmsted offices, c. 1890s; Stone tower and bridge designed for the Rock Garden, Franklin Park Zoo, Boston; New Governor’s Palace; and Costumed hostess in the Boxwood Garden, Colonial Williamsburg.

Elizabeth Hope Cushing’s richly illustrated biography, forthcoming in mid-August from University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH, illuminates how Shurcliff’s early years in Boston, his training, his early design and planning work, and his experience creating an Arts and Crafts style summer compound on Boston’s North Shore led to Colonial Williamsburg. Cushing’s authoritative book is the product of years of detailed research based in part on previously inac­cessible records. An outstanding scholar of the work of Frederick Law Olmsted and his firm, Cushing has brought Shurcliff to life as one of the most fascinating landscape architects and preservationists of his time.

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