cloth, 255 pp., $40.00
One of the most influential American garden writers of his day, Andrew Jackson Downing (1815–52) is remembered in this treatise by architect and Downing scholar, Caren Yglesias. As the author points out, few examples of his actual work exist today, but his theories remain pertinent in contemporary times. Sweep away the elaborate Victorian language in his text and the reader will find sound principles on domestic design. In an age when Greek Revival was a popular architectural style, Downing spoke out in his writings, urging the public to create homes that would meet the needs and interest of a democratic people. This biography contains not only the story of his life, but also reports on architects and others prominent in the field of design during the period. The narrative is accompanied by extensive archival illustrations of Downing residential designs, floor plans, and landscape layouts, which are taken from his written works. Sadly, his life was too short (Downing died in a steamboat accident on the Hudson in the summer of 1852) and his known projects were limited.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden