Sir Joseph Paxton ( 1801 - 1865)

English landscape gardener, botanist and designer of hothouses, who was the architect of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. He was originally a gardener employed by the duke of Devonshire. From 1826 he was superintendent of the gardens at Chatsworth, the duke’s Derbyshire estate; he built in iron and glass the famous conservatory there (1840) and the lily house for the duke’s rare Victoria regia (1850). Also in 1850, after a cumbersome design had been officially accepted by the Great Exhibition’s organizers, Paxton’s inspired plan for a building of prefabricated elements of sheet glass and iron was substituted. His design, based on his earlier glass structures, covered four times the area of St. Peter’s, Rome, and the grandeur of its conception was a challenge to mid-19th-century technology. Although it was built within six months and he was knighted for his efforts (1851), it was not until later that the structure was seen as a revolution in style.  Paxton was a member of Parliament for Coventry from 1854 until his death. 

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