Joseph Paxton was an English gardener and architect who is chiefly remembered for designing one of most famous buildings of Victoria’s reign ‘The Crystal Palace’. Born in England to a farming family, he held a number of gardening jobs until he began working at Chiswick Gardens of the Horticultural Society, adjacent to the gardens of the Duke of Devonshire. Impressed with his abilities, the Duke appointed Paxton head gardener at Chatsworth House, the Devonshire family’s large country house in Derbyshire, where Paxton successfully went on to design gardens, fountains, a model village and an arboretum.
Paxton’s most elegant masterpiece was ‘The Crystal Palace’ for the ‘Great Exhibition’ of 1851. The building was erected in just six months, with 293,655 panes of glass, 330 huge iron columns and 24 miles of gutters.
He also built the Great Conservatory or Stove, a huge glasshouse, and a lily house specially constructed for a giant lily with a design based on the leaves of the plant.
He was knighted by Queen Victoria for his magnificent design of ‘The Crystal Palace’.