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James Stevens Curl

(b Cambuslang, Lanark [now Strathclyde], April 8, 1783; d London, December 14, 1843).

Scottish garden designer and writer. The son of a farmer, he was first apprenticed to a nurseryman and landscape gardener, moving to London in 1803 to set himself up as a garden designer. That year he published his ‘Hints…[on] Laying Out the Grounds of the Public Squares in London’ in the Literary Journal (ii/12, 31 Dec 1803, cols 739–42), advocating a judicious mixture of deciduous and evergreen plants. He also carried out work for the Duchess of Brunswick at Brunswick House, Blackheath, London, and the following year spent some time in his native Scotland, improving the estates of several aristocratic clients. The same year he exhibited three drawings at the Royal Academy and published his first book, Observations on…Ornamental Plantations. In it he emphasized his adherence to Picturesque principles and those of Uvedale Price in particular. From this time on, and in addition to several forays into architectural design, Loudon’s career as a garden designer was inseparable from his vast publishing enterprises, by which he disseminated his advice and ideas....