Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Andrews Nesfield
Designation: Architect, Landscape architect
Born: 19 February 1794
Died: 2 March 1881
Bio Notes: William Andrews Nesfield was born on 19 February 1794, the eldest son of Rev William Nesfield, then curate at Chester-le-Street, and his wife Elizabeth Andrews of Shotley Hall, Northumberland. The family were then living on the Lumley estate but in 1798 the family moved to Old Elvet, Durham. In 1800 the elder Nesfield became rector of Brancepath and after the death of his wife in 1808 he married Marianne Mills of Willington Hall, Co. Durham whose elder sister Eliza had married Captain Anthony Salvin, father of the architect of the same name. The younger Nesfield was educated at Durham School, Hyde Abbey, Winchester, Bury St Edmunds Grammar School and Trinity College Cambridge. He then entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and was gazetted 2nd lieutenant in the 95th Rifle Regiment on 10 July 1812. He saw service in Wellington's campaign in Spain and in Canada, but on his return he was put on half-pay and resigned his commission as a Major in 1818.

While at Woolwich Nesfield had been taught architecture and perspective by Thomas Paul Sandby. Initially he determined to become a topographical artist, and in 1820 he made a tour to Switzerland. On his return he took lodgings in Newman Street, London. These he shared with his cousin by marriage Anthony Salvin who was to become his brother-in-law in 1826 when he married Anne Nesfield. There they took lessons from Copley Fielding who lived in the same street and in 1823 Nesfield became a member of the Old Watercolour Society, and on his sketching tours Nesfield sometimes travelled with other members, notably David Cox, Charles Stansfield, Edwin Landseer and James Duffield Harding.

On 13 July 1833 Nesfield married Emma Mills and settled briefly in Bath where he became a landscape architect and garden designer initially working with his brother-in-law. There his elder son William Eden Nesfield was born. The family soon moved back to London, Salvin having built two villas for their occupation at Fortis Green, Muswell Hill. By 1840 Nesfield had travelled in France studying the work of the late 17th century French gardeners and had established a much wider clientele than that of his brother-in-law, becoming equally closely associated with Edward Blore, Charles Barry and William Burn. He was primarily a designer of terraces, parterres, cascades and other landscape buildings but also undertook the design of associated estate buildings.

In 1842 Nesfield moved his house and practice to Eton but the volume of his business soon made it more convenient to return to London where he took a house at 3 York Terrace, Regents Park where he was to remain for the rest of his life. At or about the time of his move to Eton his son Markham, also a garden designer, was born.

Nesfield died in London on 2 March 1881. Markham had predeceased him in 1874.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, landscape architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Newman Street, London, EnglandPrivate18201823(?) 
Item 2 of 5Bath, Somerset, EnglandPrivate1823Before 1840 
Item 3 of 5Fortis Green, Muswell Hill, London, EnglandPrivateBefore 18401842 
Item 4 of 5Eton, Berkshire, EnglandBusiness1842Before 1881 
Item 5 of 53, York Terrace, Regent's Park, London, EnglandPrivateAfter 18421881 

Buildings and Designs

This architect, landscape architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 5c. 1844BalcaskiePittenweem FifeScotlandRestoration of garden
Item 2 of 51848Inveraray CastleInveraray ArgyllScotlandDesign for garden layout and new approaches
Item 3 of 5c. 1849Poltalloch HouseLochgilphead ArgyllScotlandLandscaping of garden, terraces etc in association with William Burn
Item 4 of 5c. 1850Ballymeanoch HouseBallymeanoch ArgyllScotlandBuildings of Scotland attribution
Item 5 of 5c. 1852Brodick Castle, main gates and entrance drive  AyrshireScotlandAlso unexecuted schemes for house and garden


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect, landscape architect:
Item 1 of 3Laurie, I C1987Nesfield in CheshireXVGarden History, p145-156 
Item 2 of 3Pride, Glen L1999The Kingdom of Fife2nd EditionThe Rutland Pressp160
Item 3 of 3Ridgway, C1993William Andrews Nesfield: between Uvedale Price and Isambard Kingdom BrunelxiiiJournal of Garden History, p69-89 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect, landscape architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Country Life8 April 1993  pp64-66