The Works of Sir Joseph Paxton, 1803-1865

The Works of Sir Joseph Paxton, 1803-1865

The Works of Sir Joseph Paxton, 1803-1865

The Works of Sir Joseph Paxton, 1803-1865

Excerpt

This book is concerned with the works of Sir Joseph Paxton, and not, therefore, except incidentally, with the story of his personal life, of his rise to fame and fortune, or of the unique relationship between Paxton and his employer, the sixth Duke of Devonshire. These latter aspects were authoritatively treated by Paxton's grand-daughter, the late Dr Violet Markham, CH, in her book Paxton and the Bachelor Duke (1935), based on surviving correspondence then in her possession between Paxton and his wife. It is felt, however, that a fuller treatment is needed of Paxton's own works in the medium of garden, building, and landscape, and of Paxton's influence upon the mid-nineteenth-century scene, particularly now that his most famous works of one kind have disappeared, whilst some of his more enduring works, by their very nature as compositions of natural materials, have begun to suffer change a hundred years after their inception.

In dealing with a range of works so varied as those of Paxton a chronological treatment is unsatisfactory and does not lend itself well to comparison and contrast, which, however, the arranging of these works into groups of like type readily permits, although at the expense of continuity. I have chosen the latter course, therefore, with, as a beginning, a background of the main events of Paxton's life against which these groups of works can be seen; it is important to note that these groups may range over twenty or thirty years in time, and that Paxton was carrying on diverse activities of other sorts whilst he was engaged upon one particular project of a certain kind which may be under discussion. Chronological lists of the works, in three main groups, are given at Appendix I.

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