Thomas White (c. 1736-1811): Redesigning the Northern British Landscape [Paperback]

Deborah Turnbull (Author); Louise Wickham (Author)

ISBN: 9781914427008 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 272p, H246 x W185 (mm) B/w and colour

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Thomas White (c. 1736-1811)


This volume aims to restore the reputation of Thomas White, who in his time was as well respected as his fellow landscape designers Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and Humphry Repton. By the end of his career, he had produced designs for at least 32 sites across northern England and over 60 in Scotland. These include nationally important designed landscapes in Yorkshire such as Harewood House, Sledmere Hall, Burton Constable Hall, Newby Hall, Mulgrave Castle as well as Raby Castle in Durham, Belle Isle in Cumbria and Brocklesby Hall in Lincolnshire. He has a vital role in the story of how northern English designed landscapes evolved in the 18th century.

The book focuses on White's known commissions in England and sheds further light on the work of other designers such as Brown and Repton, who worked on many of the same sites. White set up as an independent designer in 1765, having worked for Brown from 1759, and his style developed over the next thirty years. Never merely a 'follower of Brown', as he is often erroneously described, his designs for plantations in particular were much admired and influenced the later, more informal styles of the picturesque movement.

The improvement plans he produced for his clients demonstrate his surveying and artistic skills. These plans were working documents but at the same time works of art in their own right. Over 60 of his beautifully-executed coloured plans survive, which is a testament to the value his clients placed on them. This book makes available for the first time over 90% of the known plans and surveys by White for England. Also included are plans by White's contemporaries, together with later maps, estate surveys and contemporary illustrations to understand which parts of improvement plans were implemented.

Table of Contents

List of figures
Chapter 1 Thomas White in context
Chapter 2 Early career and working with Brown
Chapter 3 First commissions: 1765–8
Chapter 4 Established landscape designer: 1769–80
Chapter 5 Later career: 1781–1803
Chapter 6 Getting the commission
Chapter 7 His landscape designs
Chapter 8 Working methods
Chapter 9 Arboricultural activities
Chapter 10 Thomas White in Scotland by Christopher Dingwall
Chapter 11 White’s sites in England
11.1 Armley
11.2 Belle Isle  
11.3 Blyborough  
11.4 Brocklesby
11.5 Burton Constable
11.6 Busby
11.7 Campsall
11.8 Carlton
11.9 Colwick
11.10 Copgrove
11.11 Fryston
11.12 Goldsborough
11.13 Grimston Garth
11.14 Grove
11.15 Harewood
11.16 Hawksworth
11.17 Holme  
11.18 Houghton
11.19 Kirkleatham
11.20 Lumley
11.21 Mulgrave
11.22 Newby
11.23 Norton
11.24 Owston
11.25 Raby
11.26 Scarisbrick
11.27 Sedbury
11.28 Skelton Castle
11.29 Sledmere
11.30 Welton  
11.31 Workington
11.32 Others – Kilnwick and Stapleton

Reviews & Quotes

"This is an introduction to White’s work built on exhaustive research ... There is much insight here on White and on the way in which landscape designers were commissioned and operated that is rare in writing on this period … Despite his successful and prolific career White has not been the primary subject of attention until now. In this book Turnbull and Wickham have filled the gap and provided researchers with a thorough survey of his work and career."
Stephen Radley
Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Lands (06/07/2022)

"Over 60 of his beautifully executed coloured plans survive, which is a testament to the value his clients placed on them. This book makes available for the first time over 90% of the known plans and surveys by White for England. "

Yorkshire Gardens Trust (01/11/2021)

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