Leading American writer and rural architect of the first half of C19. His A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening Adapted to North America (1841) drew generously on Loudon's and Repton's work, while his Cottage Residences (1842) and The Architecture of Country Houses (1850) helped to disseminate his ideas and designs, which owed much to the skills of A. J. Davis (who made professional drawings for Downing's publications from 1839 to 1850), but, when his proposals to form a professional relationship with Davis failed, he took the Englishman Calvert Vaux, a pupil of Cottingham, on as his partner (1850). Through his editorials in The Horticulturist (the ‘Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste’) he had a profound effect on architecture and landscape design, and can be compared with Loudon (from whom he derived many of his ideas) in his importance. He was the father of the American public park, and his visions were given substance by Vaux and Olmsted in Central Park, NYC (1857–60). Among his designs for gardens, those at Springside, Poughkeepsie, NY (1850–2), and The White House, Washington, DC (1851–2), should be mentioned. He also promoted an American type of timber-framed house, with large verandahs and bracketed eaves, a precursor of the Stick style, and later adapted by architects such as Davis and Notman.
A. Downing (1967, 1967a, 1968);Haley (ed.) (1988);Hitchcock (1977);Major (1997);Placzek (ed.) (1982);D. Schuyler (1996);Sweeting (1996);Tatum&MacDougall (1989)