Switzer, Stephen

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Switzer, Stephen (1683–1745). English garden-designer. After early training in Hants., he worked for London and Wise in their Brompton nursery, and then created the wilderness at Castle Howard, Yorks. (from 1706), followed by works at Cirencester Park, Glos. (from c.1713), and Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincs. (c.1716). The last involved creating an informal park, linking the grounds contiguous to the house with the country beyond: thus he has been claimed as one of the inventors (or progenitors) of the English landscape garden. However, Switzer's reputation rests more on his writings, in which, among other things, he advocated bringing the ‘useful’ and ‘profitable’ aspects of gardening (e.g. agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry) into designs to enhance the ‘pleasurable’ (e.g. decorative) parts: in this he drew on Classical Roman theory, and proposed the ferme ornée as an important feature, both aesthetically pleasing and useful. In short, he advocated that agricultural land, woodlands, uncultivated land, water-features, and grounds for recreation should be designed as a whole, respecting nature and topography. His Ichnographia Rustica (1718 and 1741–2) is his most important work.


Hunt & P. Willis (eds.) (1989);
D. Jacques (1983);
Pevsner (ed.) (1968);
Switzer (1980);
Jane Turner (1996);
P. Willis (ed.) (1974)