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Dover reprinted Cottage Residences as Victorian Cottage Residences in 1981, but only in 1989 did a book-length study appear, Prophet with Honor, nine essays drawn from symposia sponsored by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and Dumbarton Oaks.David Schuyler’s biography, Apostle of Taste, appeared in 1996 and Judith Major’s analysis of the design theories, To Live in the New World, the following year.
He was a persuasive advocate for the picturesque both in architecture and landscape design, although he was not originally a designer himself but a journalist.
So it may seem churlish to say that his cottage and landscape books are derivative of two Britons, Humphry Repton and John Claudius Loudon; that his residence designs, with their obligatory verandas attached to Tuscan or Gothic or Swiss cottages, owe a great deal to Davis; that his love of chimneys and blind turrets seems, well, childish.
All of these are positions that a critic might reasonably adopt, and Downing was not immune from such comment in his own day.
Almost single-handedly, Downing created the profession we now call landscape architecture.
More than any man he created solid, affordable housing plans that borrowed from half a dozen different cultures and thus were distinctively American.