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History of Early American Landscape Design

Richard Peters

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Avenue, Green, Hedge, Labyrinth, Obelisk, Prospect, Statue, Summerhouse, Temple, Vase/Urn, Vista, Walk, Wood


Richard Peters Richard Peters (1744-1828) was born at Belmont , the estate on the Schuylkill River that his father, William Peters , was then in the process of building. Following the latter’s return to England, Peters assumed responsibility for the property, experimenting with new scientific methods of agriculture and animal husbandry intended to improve the productivity of the estate. The use of plaster of Paris as a fertilizing agent, which he recommended in a widely circulated pamphlet published in 1797, influenced the methods of other gentlemen farmers, including Thomas Jefferson , a frequent correspondent of Peters’s, and George Washington , a friend and frequent visitor to Belmont. Peters went on to promote scientific methods of agriculture in A Discourse on Agriculture: Its Antiquity and Importance to Every Member of the Community (1816) and in over 100 reports published under the auspices of the Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture (founded in 1785), of which he was a charter member and president from 1805 to 1828. Under his leadership, the Society held exhibitions of farm products and labor-saving machinery, analyzed seeds and plant specimens, and distributed foreign seeds to American farmers. Peters also founded the Merion Society for Promoting Agriculture and Rural Economy in 1790 and served as president until his death. His

References http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n85363458.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Peters_(Continental_Congress) Harold Eberlein Donaldson and Horace Mather Lippincott, The Colonial Homes of Philadelphia and Its Neighbourhood (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1912): https://archive.org/details/colonialhomesofp00eber Royce Shingleton, Richard Peters: Champion of the New South (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1985): http://books.google.com/books?id=bI-PxAuWKFQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Richard+Peters:+Champion+of+the+New+South&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LvhDU-j8BcrfsATjzoLYCw&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Richard%20Peters%3A%20Champion%20of%20the%20New%20South&f=false Samuel Breck, Address delivered before the Blockley and Merion Society: http://books.google.com/books?id=zDgvAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=Address+delivered+before+the+Blockley+and+Merion+Society&source=bl&ots=tT6Y7-byxA&sig=u4KXXhy6V7V52tfAx3rMxY4ycjI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XPhDU5vFGY3ksATdzoBA&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Address%20delivered%20before%20the%20Blockley%20and%20Merion%20Society&f=false




"A broad walk of English Cheery trees leads down to the river. The doors of the house opening opposite admit a prospect of the length of the garden over a broad gravel walk to a large handsome summer house on a green. From the windows a vista is terminated by an obelisk. On the right you enter a labyrinth of hedge of low cedar and spruce. In the middle stands a statue of Apollo. In the garden are statues of Diana, Fame and Mercury with urns. We left the garden for a wood cut into vistas. In the midst is a Chinese temple for a summer house. One avenue gives a fine prospect of the City. With a spy glass you discern the houses and hospital distinctly. Another avenue looks to the obelisk."

"Belmont house is old, but is well built of stone and like all the Country houses, has a Piazza in front. I don't see why those in England should not have the same, which would secure a fine airy walk in all weathers, besides being ornamental to the building."




  1. Vaux, George. 1888. “Extracts from the Diary of Hannah Callender.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 12 (1): 432–56. view on Zotero
  2. Foster, Kathleen A. 1997. Captain Watson’s Travels in America: The Sketchbooks and Diary of Joshua Rowley Watson, 1772-1818. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. view on Zotero

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History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Richard Peters," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Richard_Peters&oldid=7450 (accessed October 5, 2022).

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