A very significant figure in the evolution of public parks was John Claudius Loudon, the etching reproduced above is from the frontispiece of An Encyclopaedia of Agriculture, 1844 (compiled by Loudon) and scanned from Travis Elborough’s A Walk in the Park, p.64. Loudon was the pioneer of a number of horticultural publications in particular as editor of the Gardener’s Magazine and it was here that he promoted the idea of public parks.
By a compulsive regime of study he raised himself up from relatively humble origins in Scotland to become a student of agriculture and botany at the University of Edinburgh. As a young man he moved to London and courted the acquaintance of leading scientists and thinkers of the day. In 1803 he published his first article promoting public parks for London and later he also campaigned for ‘sanitary burial grounds’ (new cemeteries) as opportunities for thoughtful lay-out plans and planting enabling them to be places of resort.
With his income from painting and as a landscape gardener he toured Europe and gained much inspiration from progressive parklands seen there, particularly in Germany. He was also afterwards able to publish his Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture and Furniture (see in Publications and Articles my MPhil. thesis on early rural council housing).
J. C. Loudon was able to succeed in gaining the commissions to plan a number of early local authority parks into the 1840s.