The Landscape Architect
On this day in 1796, Gilbert Laing Meason was born.
Laing Meason was a friend of Sir Walter Scott, and he invented the term 'landscape architecture' in his 1828 book on The Landscape Architecture of the Great Painters of Italy.
Not many copies of his book were printed, but somehow the prolific garden author, John Claudius Loudon, secured a copy. He shared the term with American horticulturist Andrew Jackson Downing, who, in turn, shared it with Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted was the first professional to describe himself as a 'landscape architect,' and he is regarded as the founder of landscape architecture.
Meason was very balanced in his perspective on architecture. He valued both function and beauty.
In terms of his property, Meason was a romantic, and his personal estate was known as Lindertis House. It is no surprise that he surrounded it with ornate gardens. Over time, the cost of maintaining the elaborate gardens, in addition to the household management of the estate as a whole, brought Lindertis to total financial ruin. Today, barely a trace of the mansion exists. When Meason died, he had no idea that his notion of 'landscape architecture' would be his legacy.