Thomas Hayton Mawson 1861-1933 : the English garden designs of an Edwardian landscape architect
Thomas Hayton Mawson was bom to lower middle class parents, in Yorkshire, in 1861. He trained as a nurseryman in London then, after his marriage to Anna Prentice, set up on his own as a garden designer. From the 1880's onwards, a new fashion in garden design was developing. The instigators were mostly architects closely associated with the Arts and Crafts movement and their new theories for garden planning reflected its ideals. The inspiration for the new style was derived frcxn the gardens of 'Old England', which covered a range of influences from the 16th to 18th centuries. The new gardens provided an architectural frame for the house but the hard landscaping was softened by luxuriant informal plantings. The rise of the formal style met with strong opposition fron the existing landscapists who objected to the straight lines prefering what they saw as a more natural approach. The architectural gardens gained great popularity because they were well suited to their needs of the clients. Large numbers of businessmen, many with newly aquired wealth, were moving out frcm the overcrowded towns to the surrounding countryside and founding country seats. The craze for a healthy outdoor life coupled with the great developments in horticulture made the garden an essential. During the reign of Edward VII, Mawson's garden design business expanded rapidly and he was employed at many sites throughout Britain and abroad. He shared the theories of the formal school yet his knowledge as a plantsman and a love of nature meant that he always designed with plants in mind. Mawson was keen to prcxnote landscape architecture and lectured widely and wrote articles on the subject. Coupled with his abilities to design, to please his clients and to work hard, this helped establish him as the leading garden architect of his day.