Library of American Landscape History
|312 pages | 6 x 9.25 inches
|$25.00 | Paper
|116 b&w photos and drawings
The LALH edition of Apostle of Taste features a new preface by David Schuyler chronicling the history of scholarship on A. J. Downing—the horticulturalist, landscape gardener, and prolific writer who, more than any other individual, shaped middle-class taste in the United States in the two decades before the Civil War.
Through his books and the pages of The Horticulturalist, Downing preached a gospel of taste that promoted the natural style of landscape design over the formal and geometric arrangements that were the hallmark of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century gardens. Together with his longtime collaborator, the architect Alexander Jackson Davis, Downing contributed to the revolution in American architectural taste from the classical revival to the Gothic, Italianate, bracketed, and other picturesque styles. Downing celebrated this progression from classic to romantic not simply as a change in stylistic preference but also as a reflection of the nation’s evolution from a pioneer condition to a more advanced state of civilization.
In this compelling text, illustrated with more than 100 drawings, plans, and photographs, Schuyler explores the origins of Downing’s ideas in English aesthetic theory and his efforts to “adapt” English designs to the different climate and republican social institutions of the United States. He traces the impulse toward an American architectural style in Downing’s work, demonstrates the influence of his ideas on the design of homes and gardens, and analyzes the complications of class implicit in Downing’s prescriptions for American society.
“Schuyler’s finely illustrated, high-quality work, timed for the bicentennial of Downing’s birth, reproduces an original publication of George Thompson’s Creating the North American Landscape Series at Johns Hopkins University Press (Schuyler 1996).”
About the Author
David Schuyler (1950–2020) was Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of the Humanities and American Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. He is author of The New Urban Landscape: The Redefinition of City Form in Nineteenth-Century America, and Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820–1909, and coeditor of four volumes of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers, most recently The Last Great Projects, 1890–1895.