Book Review

The laying out, planting and managing of cemeteries and on the improvement of churchyards

by J C Loudon
Facsimile edition with an introduction and bibliography by James Stevens Curl, 2019

Reviewed by Ann Pearce

This book is a scholarly work and in spite of the “deadly” subject it is actually fascinating and must be priceless to any student of the subject of Victorian cemeteries, funereal architecture and landscaping.

This book, released by special subscription in December 2009, is an updated, finely bound, facsimile and numbered edition of the work originally published in 1843.  It includes a new introductory essay and brilliant bibliography by Professor James Stevens Curl, FSA. MRIA.  Also included is a facsimile of Loudon’s obituary from the Gardeners Magazine 1844, and an index compiled by Auriol Griffith-Jones.

Reading the obituary it is evident that Mr Loudon was a remarkable man.  Severely handicapped by pain and physical disability, he was a landscape gardener and architect and had a huge influence on taste on matters of architecture, gardening, interior design and contrived landscapes.

The introductory essay to this book by James Stevens Curl is really interesting and on a “local” note there is a remarkable section about The Old Cemetery in Southampton.  Loudon was invited to submit a design which ultimately was rejected, but some of his ideas were incorporated in a later design.