Gilbert Laing Meason

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Gilbert Laing Meason (3 July 1769 – 14 August 1832)[1] was a Scottish gentleman, best remembered as the originator of the term landscape architecture.


Laing Meason[2] lived on an estate called Lindertis, in Forfar, and was a friend of Sir Walter Scott. He was interested in art history, and in 1828 published a book called On The Landscape Architecture of the Great Painters of Italy (London, 1828). It dealt with the way that buildings and structures were sited within landscapes to produce beautiful compositions. The book sold poorly. Although essentially a work of art criticism, Laing Meason touched on subjects, such as the placing of buildings and their surroundings, which form a central part of the modern landscape architect's work.

Laing Meason had no reason to believe that the term he used would become popular. The term would probably have died out if it had not been taken up by the horticulturalist and planner John Claudius Loudon. Loudoun thought that the term had a wider application outside art theory, and explained this view in an article in the contemporary Gardener's Magazine. He felt that the phrase aptly described the composition of created landscapes, and cited the gardens of Deepdene as an exemplar.

The term was picked up by Loudon's American admirer Andrew Jackson Downing, from whom Frederick Law Olmsted presumably first heard it. Olmsted was the first professional to describe himself as a 'landscape architect', and is considered to be the founder of the modern profession of landscape architecture.


  1. ^ "Gilbert Laing MEASON". Pilgrims-Pioneers-Presidents genealogy. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Laing". Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2010.