WEIDENMANN, Jacob (1829-1893). Beautifying Country Homes. A Handbook of Landscape Gardening. Illustrated by Plans of Places already Improved. New-York: Orange Judd and Company, .
Folio, (14 x 10 ¾ inches). 24 lithographed plates, including 7 double-page, with original hand-coloring in full; numerous in-text illustrations (occasional faint offsetting to text pages). Original publisher’s maroon cloth, gilt-lettered (extremities a bit worn, spine faded to brown).
Provenance: Bookseller’s ticket of D. Van Nostrand to front pastedown.
First edition. One of the “best works on landscape architecture published since 1820” (Marianna Griswold Van Rensselaer). A pivotal and essential reference work for any American botanical library, this work contributed directly to the American gardening and planned landscape movements. The author “received professional training in Europe and worked as an architect and engineer before emigrating to the United States in 1856. Recognizing opportunities for landscape gardening in the New World, he studied the writings of Andrew Jackson Downing and John Claudius Loudon and, in 1859, moved to Hartford, Conn….
“The best indication of Weidenmann’s early career can be found in his Beautifying Country Homes, which contains seven of his landscape designs and advice to homeowners on how to ‘improve and beautify…suburban homes.’ Weidenmann’s technical training is evident in the book’s discussion of site engineering and planting design, and his principles of taste are apparent in the 24 handsome plates that embellish the text…
“Near the time of the book’s publication, Weidenmann journeyed to Europe to study ‘various public works of our profession.’ Returning in 1871, he moved to New York City, resuming his association with Olmsted and Vaux to work on Prospect Park in Brooklyn and superintend construction of several suburban estates. He became Olmsted’s partner in 1874, and the two men designed Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and the Schuylkill Arsenal outside Philadelphia. Weidenmann also helped Olmsted prepare plans for Mount Royal Park in Montreal, the United States Capitol grounds and other important projects…
“Weidenmann brought thorough training to his chosen career, which he considered ‘this noblest of all Art professions.’ He urged the establishment of a professional school to raise landscape architecture ‘to proper standing in science and art.’ Appropriately, Harvard University awards a prize in his name to an outstanding student in landscape architecture, a fitting recognition of Weidenmann’s accomplishments and his commitment to his profession” (Tishler, American Landscape Architecture).