Between The Plant Sciences: Richard Bradley's Study of Horticulture, Botany and Landscape Design

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation examines the early eighteenth-century English horticultural author Richard Bradley’s prolific writing on plant physiology and the reform of gardening practices in the context of changes in botany and landscape design. The period during which Bradley worked immediately preceded the introduction and dramatic rise of Linnaean classification and has often been represented as a stagnant moment in the development of the natural sciences. However, closer observation also reveals important discoveries in plant physiology, and intense methodological debate. Landscape design was likewise poised for an equally dramatic transformation as the English Natural Style, with its emphasis on irregularity and the native contours of the land, came to replace formal geometric layouts borrowed from France. Bradley’s publications were characterized by an eclectic approach, combining theoretical study and practical solutions with new examination of historical sources, and were presented in formats intended to appeal both to popular and scholarly audiences. Of particular interest are his efforts to develop technological solutions to aesthetic problems in design of the garden, such as his proposal for the construction of scale models of gardens that allowed designers to visualize the effects of different prospects by mapping the lines of sight at different views. Conclusions will argue for an understanding of the way in which horticulture might be seen to act as an intermediary for changes in eighteenth-century arts and sciences.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-12072012-181033

Author Yvonne Anya Gaspar
Advisor Robert Goulding
Contributor Chris Hamlin, Committee Member
Contributor Kathleen Pyne, Committee Member
Contributor Tom Stapleford, Committee Member
Contributor Robert Goulding, Committee Chair
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline History and Philosophy of Science
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2012-11-15

Submission Date 2012-12-07
  • United States of America

  • English landscape design

  • horticultural writing

  • Richard Bradley

  • craft knowledge

  • Pre-Linnaean botany

  • history of Cambridge University

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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