Blaikie, Thomas, 1751-1838, gardener

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Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Blaikie, Thomas, 1751-1838, gardener

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Description area

Dates of existence



Thomas Blaikie was born in 1751 in Corstorphine, the son of a market gardener. It is suggested he may have been a student gardener at RBGE and possibly then worked at Kew, the Hammersmith nursery and Upton House in East Ham for Dr John Fothergill. He was engaged jointly by Dr Fothergill and Dr William Pitcairn to undertake a plant collecting trip in the Swiss Alps from April to December 1775. In September 1776 James Lee of the Hammersmith Nursery engaged Blaikie to provide plants for the Comte de Lauraguais and he was subsequently employed to work on the Comte’s garden in Normandy. From 1778 he was employed in the gardens at Bagatelle by the Comte D’Artois, the youngest brother of Louis XVI and future Charles X. He also worked at St Leu, Monceau and Le Raincy for the Duc de Chartres (who later became Duc D’Orleans and then Philippe Égalité) and undertook a number of private commissions. It is also thought that he was involved in making alterations to the gardens at Malmaison.

Blaikie is credited with introducing the English style of gardening and British gardeners to France, where his method of grafting came to be known as ‘graffe Blaikie’. He died at his house on the rue de Vignes in Paris in 1838. His diaries covering the period 1775 to 1792 were published in 1931, entitled ‘Diary of a Scotch Gardener at the French Court at the end of the Eighteenth Century’.


United Kingdom (1751-1775)
Switzerland (1775)
Normandy (c1776-1778)
Paris (c1778-1838)

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Gardener and garden designer
Plant collector

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Thomas Blaikie was employed as a gardener by members of the French nobility during the period of the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Materials within the archive record his experiences of the time and detail his subsequent efforts to obtain compensation for the losses he incurred.

Relationships area

Related entity

Lee, James, 1754-1824, gardener (1754-1824)

Identifier of related entity


Category of relationship


Dates of relationship

1776 - 1814

Description of relationship

James Lee introduced Blaikie to members of the French aristocracy who he subsequently worked for. Lee also supplied Blaikie with plants for French gardens where he was employed.

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Authority record identifier

VIAF ID: 27223442 (Personal) Permalink:

Institution identifier

GB 235

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAAR (CPF) 2004
ISO 8601


Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2019-06-06 (creation)


  • English



'Thomas Blaikie: The 'Capability' Brown of France 1751-1838' - Taylor, Patricia, 2001

Maintenance notes

Creator of record: Emma Filshie

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