Colquhoun, Kate 1964-
Colquhoun, Kate 1964-
Born 1964; married; husband a literary agent; children: two sons. Education: Attended York University. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening.
Home—London, England. Agent— Caroline Dawnay, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
Writer. Worked for publishing firm Faber and Faber in England; then Random House Publishers, Sydney, Australia; then as marketing director of Trade Books for Oxford University Press, Oxford, England; then for Bloomsbury, London, England; then as publisher at Prospect magazine. Also worked briefly as a head hunter.
A Thing in Disguise: The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton, Fourth Estate (London, England), 2003, published as The Busiest Man in England: The Life of Joseph Paxton, Gardener, Architect, & Victorian Visionary, David R. Godine (Boston, MA), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including the London Telegraph.
Kate Colquhoun worked for many years in publishing before writing her first book, The Busiest Man in England: The Life of Joseph Paxton, Gardener, Architect, & Victorian Visionary, which was first published in England as A Thing in Disguise: The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton. The biography tells the story of a Victorian Renaissance man who rose from poverty as a farm laborer's son to worldwide renown. His accomplishments included not only an international reputation as a gardener, landscaper, and architect, but also as an inventor, publisher, and statesman. Colquhoun follows Paxton's life from poverty to fame and writes about Paxton's close relationship with the sixth Duke of Devonshire, whose estate Paxton transformed. As an architect, however, Paxton is perhaps best known for designing the Crystal Palace at London's Great Exhibition of 1851. "Meticulously researched, engagingly presented, Colquhoun's voluminous study paints a revelatory portrait of an exceptional man," wrote Carol Haggas in Booklist. Some reviewers also noted that the author reveals almost as much about the Victorian era as she does about Paxton. For example, A.N. Wilson, writing in the New Statesman, commented: "Colquhoun has ploughed through an immense archive of material, producing much that is original, and in telling the story of one of the most remarkable Englishmen, she sheds abundant light on the period he adorned." Natural History contributor Laurence A. Marschall wrote: "Kate Colquhoun's masterful biography of Paxton more than does justice to this remarkable overachiever."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of The Busiest Man in England: The Life of Joseph Paxton, Gardener, Architect, & Victorian Visionary, p. 25.
California Bookwatch, October, 2006, review of The Busiest Man in England.
Natural History, September, 2006, Laurence A. Marschall, review of The Busiest Man in England, p. 54.
New Statesman, August 18, 2003, A.N. Wilson, "Grand Designs," review of A Thing in Disguise: The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton, p. 38.