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Mr Robert Marnock

Early Life and Education

Robert Marnock was born on August 12, 1800, in Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. From a young age, he displayed a keen interest in botany and horticulture, which led him to pursue formal training in these fields. Marnock's early education in gardening came through practical experience and apprenticeships, typical for the time, providing him with a solid foundation in the art and science of horticulture.

Career Beginnings

Marnockā€™s professional career began in earnest when he became the head gardener at Bretton Hall in Yorkshire around 1829. Here, he had the opportunity to design the landscape of what would later become part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. His work at Bretton Hall showcased his naturalistic style, which blended the formal elements of garden design with the picturesque and pastoral influences of the era.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

In 1834, Marnock was appointed the curator of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens. This role proved to be one of the most significant in his career. The gardens, which opened to the public in 1836, were designed by Marnock and reflected his innovative approach to garden layout and planting. He emphasized the use of curved lines and natural forms, steering away from the rigid formality of previous garden styles. His work at Sheffield garnered widespread acclaim and established his reputation as a leading landscape gardener.

Later Work and Major Projects

Marnockā€™s success at Sheffield led to numerous other commissions. One of his notable projects was the design of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Regentā€™s Park, London. Although not all of his plans were implemented, his influence on the garden's development was significant.

Throughout his career, Marnock was involved in the design and enhancement of several other prominent gardens and estates, including:

  • Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells: Marnock designed the gardens in the 1850s, which featured a large ornamental lake and sweeping lawns.
  • The Grange in Northington: Working for Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton, Marnock created an elaborate garden that complemented the classical architecture of the estate.
  • Brockwell Park in London: His work here in the 1860s contributed to the parkā€™s development into a public space of beauty and utility.

Influence and Legacy

Marnockā€™s design philosophy was characterized by a blend of naturalism and artistry. He was a proponent of the Gardenesque style, which emphasized the display of individual plants within a harmonious landscape. This approach influenced many of his contemporaries and successors in the field of landscape gardening.

His legacy is also evident in his written works and contributions to horticultural literature. Marnock shared his knowledge through articles and papers, helping to educate and inspire future generations of gardeners and landscape architects.

Death and Commemoration

Robert Marnock passed away on September 15, 1889. His contributions to landscape gardening have been commemorated in various ways, including the continued appreciation and preservation of the gardens he designed. The Robert Marnock Garden at Sheffield Botanical Gardens stands as a lasting tribute to his vision and expertise.


  1. Sheffield Botanical Gardens. (n.d.). History of the Gardens. Retrieved from Sheffield Botanical Gardens
  2. The Parks Agency. (n.d.). Robert Marnock (1800-1889). Retrieved from Parks Agency
  3. Royal Horticultural Society. (n.d.). Robert Marnock. Retrieved from RHS
  4. Brent Elliott. (1986). Victorian Gardens. B.T. Batsford Ltd.

Associated Places