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Richard Turner

(c. 1798—1881) iron manufacturer and engineer


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(1798–1881), Irish engineer who, working for the Hammersmith Ironworks of Dublin, designed remarkable glasshouses which influenced their design throughout the British Isles. His use of thin cast-iron glazing bars, and bold use of graceful curving lines, with a strong architectural sensibility, created some of the most beautiful glasshouses of his time. One of his earliest surviving works is the domed glasshouse at the Belfast Botanic Gardens which was completed in 1840. A central dome is flanked by wings of different climates, cool on one side and heated on the other. The curvilinear range of glasshouses at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin was started in 1843 and continuously extended (not always by Turner) until 1869. Despite its great size—it is 100 m/300 ft long—it retains a character of airy elegance. Turner's greatest building, and one of the finest of the 19th century, was the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which was designed in conjunction with Decimus Burton (1800–81). Built between 1844 and 1848, a symphony of swooping but functional curves, it has more the character of a futurist building of the 20th-century avant-garde than of fussy Victorianism. Its central chamber, large enough to take substantial trees, is 19 m/62 ft high.

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.


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