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Frederick Law Olmsted Loved the English Picturesque Landscape

New York’s Central Park, designed in the English picturesque stye

You love the look of Central Park, the premier public promenade in America, created to voice democracy, a green space open to all.

The genius behind Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, had earlier in his career visited Birkenhead Park in Liverpool.  Chatsworth’s head gardener in the 1800s, Joseph Paxton, also designed Birkenhead.

Thus a connection arises  between Chatsworth and Central Park.  Both share a similar English style, a picturesque view, created by lawn, trees, walkways, and , of course, water.

The definition of the English term ‘picturesque’ means as if you were looking at a painting of nature, a work of art, created by a landscape designer.  The term came from the the essays of Englishman William Gilpin (1724-1804)

Last week I attended a lecture at the Arnold Arboretum about Olmsted.  The speaker, Alan Banks, Supervisory Park Ranger at “Fairsted”, the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site  in Brookline, MA, said that  Gilpin’s writing influenced Olmsted.

So Central Park expresses the English garden style. For over a century and half park visitors continue to enjoy a bit of escape from city life to a refreshing walk in nature.

Do you have a favorite park? What makes it special?  Is it one of Olmsted’s?


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