When Thomas Mawson published his autobiography in1927 he was looking back over a 50 year career as a landscape architect, a reflection he found ‘most congenial’. It is a story that charts not only his life, but also the development of his chosen profession as a creative art. Beginning with a ‘passion for the arts’ and practical experience of garden-making, architecture and forestry, he set out to contribute with others to ‘a revival of intelligent and scholarly garden design’. He cites his luck in finding ‘appreciative clients’ and skilled assistants, as well as in moving in the right academic, business and government circles across the world. From private gardens to public parks and city planning, with details of many prospects and commissions – early Parks at Hanley and Burslem, gardens in Scotland and England during his collaboration with Dan Gibson in the late 1890s, friendship with and work for Lord Leverhulme, the replanning in 1917 of both Salonika and Stepney, schemes for industrial villages in Britain – there are too many to list. It is a story full of lively descriptions in which working and management methods, plans, lecture tours, writing, colleagues, friends and clients sit alongside glimpses of family and social life. Throughout, Mawson uses as reference his own hugely successful The Art and Craft of Garden Making, also available in the Viridarium Library of Garden Classics.
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