Olmsted in England is a research essay by Garrett Dash Nelson written for the MA program in Landscape and Culture at the University of Nottingham, undertaken during a research year funded by the US–UK Fulbright Commmission. It follows the English journey taken in 1850 by the young American critic Frederick Law Olmsted, who would go on later in the century to design some of the most important built landscapes in North America, and, in doing so, earn a title as a formative voice in the rhetoric of American environmentalism and social progress. In 1850, however, Olmsted was a dilettante gentleman farmer, concerned not with park design but with the course of civilization on both sides of the Atlantic during a time of great transformation. By considering Olmsted’s travels in England from a geographic perspective, this essay examines the genealogy, mobility, embodiment, and epistemology of Olmsted's landscape thought during its germinate period.

Background image credit: Detroit Publishing Co., Library of Congress