Thomas Hayton Mawson (1861-1933) was the most celebrated landscape architect of the Edwardian era and a leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The bulk of his work dates from 1890-1920.
Mawson's early career included setting up the Lakeland Nursery in Windermere. Such was its success that Mawson turned his attention to landscape design. His first commission was Graythwaite Hall on the shores of Lake Windermere. Mawson went on to have a long association with Cumbria, including designing the gardens at Brockhole which is today the home to the Lake District Visitor Centre.
Mawson worked on many prestigious garden, park and civic space projects across the world, including America, Canada, and Europe. In 1908 he won a competition to design the Peace Palace Gardens at The Hague.
Russell Gardens (originally known as Kearsney Court Gardens) is a rare example of his work in south east England, and is believed to be one of his earliest independent commissions (circa 1901). Several set piece photographs of the gardens appear in Mawson's book, The Art and Craft of Garden Making.
Unlike his contemporary, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), Mawson took a more structural/architectural approach to garden design in which the planting was subordinate to the structure. This approach can be clearly seen in Russell Gardens in which his signature features - terracing, canal pond, boathouse and pergola bridges - are the focal points of the park.
In 1923 Mawson became the President of the Town Planning Institute and in 1929 the first President of the Institute of Landscape Architects.