|Andrew Jackson Downing Urn|
|Artist||Robert Eberhard Launitz|
|Subject||Andrew Jackson Downing|
|Dimensions||120 cm (4 ft); 61 cm diameter (2 ft)|
|Location||Enid A. Haupt Garden, Washington, D.C.|
The Andrew Jackson Downing Urn, also known as the Downing Urn, is a memorial and public artwork located in the Enid A. Haupt Garden of the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The outdoor sculpture of a garden vase−urn commemorates Andrew Jackson Downing (1815–1852), an American landscape designer and horticulturalist, and considered to be one of the founders of American landscape architecture. Shortly before dying at the age of 37, Downing developed a landscape plan for the National Mall that the United States government partially implemented until replacing it with the McMillan Plan of 1902 (see History of the National Mall).
Architect and landscape designer Calvert Vaux designed the memorial urn, which Robert Eberhard Launitz sculpted. The urn was located and dedicated on the National Mall in September 1856, where it stood near the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History until 1965, when it was moved to the east entrance of the Smithsonian Institution Building (the "Castle"). In 1972, the urn was restored, moved to the west entrance of the Castle and rededicated. In 1987, it was relocated to the Rose Garden at the Castle's east door. The urn was moved to the Enid A. Haupt Garden in 1989.
The inscription reads,
(on the south face of the base):
WAS ERECTED BY HIS FRIENDS
IN MEMORY OF
ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING.
WHO DIED JULY 28, 1852, AGED 37 YEARS
HE WAS BORN AND LIVED,
AND DIED UPON THE HUDSON RIVER.
HIS LIFE WAS DEVOTED TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE NATIONAL
TASTE IN RURAL ART,
WHICH HE LIVED HAD FULLY ENDOWED HIM.
HIS SUCCESS WAS AS GREAT AS HIS GENIUS AND FOR THE DEATH
OF FEW PUBLIC MEN
WAS PUBLIC GRIEF EVER MORE SINCERE.
WHEN THESE GROUNDS WERE PROPOSED, HE WAS AT ONCE
CALLED TO DESIGN THEM:
BUT BEFORE THEY WERE COMPLETED HE PERISHED IN THE WRECK
OF THE STEAMER HENRY CLAY.
HIS MIND WAS SINGULARLY JUST, PENETRATING AND ORIGINAL
HIS MANNERS WERE CALM, RESERVED, AND COURTEOUS.
HIS PERSONAL MEMORY
BELONGS TO THE FRIENDS WHO LOVE HIM:
HIS FAME TO THE COUNTRY WHICH HONORS AND LAMENTS HIM.
- "Andrew Jackson Downing Urn". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. April 1, 1993. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
- (1) "The Downing Urn in the Enid A. Haupt Garden". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
(2) "DOWNING, Andrew Jackson: Urn on the east side of the Arts & Industries Bldg in Washington, D.C. by Robert E Launitz, Calvert Vaux". dcMemorials.com. 2008. Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
(3) "Andrew Jackson Downing, (sculpture)". Smithsonian American Art Museum: Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-04-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
- Schuyler, David (February 2000). "Downing, Andrew Jackson". American Council of Learned Societies: American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
In late 1850 Downing was commissioned to landscape the public grounds in Washington, D.C. This 150-acre tract extended west from the foot of Capitol Hill to the site of the Washington Monument and then north to the president's house. Downing saw this as an opportunity not simply to ornament the capital but also to create the first large public park in the United States. He believed that the Washington park would encourage cities across the nation to provide healthful recreational grounds for their citizens. Although only the initial stages of construction had been completed at the time of his death, Downing's commission, as well as the influence of his writings, merited the epithet "Father of American Parks."
- (1) Hanlon, Mary. "The Mall: The Grand Avenue, The Government, and The People". University of Virginia. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
(2) Sherald, James L. (December 2009). Elms for the Monumental Core: History and Management Plan (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Center for Urban Ecology, National Capital Region, National Park Service. p. 3. Natural Resource Report NPS/NCR/NRR--2009/001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
(3) "Downing's Plan for the Mall". Smithsonian Gardens: The Downing Urn in the Enid A. Haupt Garden. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
(4) "Andrew Jackson Downing's Plan for the National Mall: Plan Showing Proposed Laying Out of the Public Grounds at Washington: Copied from the Original Plan by A. J. Downing: February. 1851. To Accompany the Annual Report dated October 1st, 1867, of Bvt Brig. Genl. N. Michler In Charge of Public Buildings, Grounds & Works". Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2017-09-17 – via National Archives Catalog.
- (1) "DOWNING, Andrew Jackson: Urn on the east side of the Arts & Industries Bldg in Washington, D.C. by Robert E Launitz, Calvert Vaux". dcMemorials.com. 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
(2) "Andrew Jackson Downing marker". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Archived from the original on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
(3) Miller, Richard, Oxon Hill, Maryland (June 2008). "Inscription on Downing Vase (Urn) Pedestal, 1856". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Archived from the original (photograph) on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
(4) "Andrew Jackson Downing, (sculpture)". Smithsonian American Art Museum: Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-04-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.