(b Twickenham, bapt Sept 14, 1696; d London, March 3, 1751).
English architect and writer. The son of a gardener, he first tried his hand as a landscape gardener in Twickenham and published several books that reveal his practical knowledge of the subject, notably New Principles of Gardening (1728) and Pomona (1729). He deplored the rigid formality of continental horticulture and followed Stephen Switzer in advocating the introduction of the serpentine line into layout and planting. By 1731 he had moved to London, where at different times he ran a drawing school in Soho, manufactured artificial stone ornaments, engaged in polemical journalism and produced a succession of architectural publications.
Langley’s classical pattern books plagiarized an astonishing variety of sources, both Baroque and Palladian, although it is clear from their tone and that of his newspaper articles that he had little sympathy for the prevailing Palladian orthodoxy of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, and his followers. This may explain why, despite energetic self-publicity, he never managed to establish himself as a practising architect—his unsuccessful design (...