Born in Wagga Wagga, NSW, in 1921.
Richard Clough graduated in architecture from the University of Sydney in 1947 and left Australia in 1949, encouraged by Professor E G Waterhouse, to study landscape architecture at University College London. In England he worked with leading landscape architect Sylvia Crowe and was greatly impressed by her ecological approach to landscape design. Returning to Australia in 1956 he had a distinguished career in landscape architecture with the National Capital Development Commission in Canberra and as Professor of Landscape Architecture and Head of School at the University of New South Wales from 1981 until his retirement in 1986.
Richard Clough began collecting books in London, influenced by the example of one of his teachers, and inspired by reading Christopher Tunnard's Gardens in the modern landscape (1938). This seminal work on modernist landscape design, featuring modernist houses designed by Australian expatriate architect Raymond McGrath, had an historical perspective, with unexpected references to 19th century garden writers. Richard Clough sought out these Victorian gardening books, then little valued and mostly inexpensive.
He collected for his own education. He wanted to learn, and bought books on all aspects of garden design. He brought them back to Australia and eventually offered them to the Canberra College of Advanced Education (now the University of Canberra). But he kept some, and he kept collecting. When he was appointed to the University of New South Wales he encountered teaching based on unfounded assumptions about Australian gardening and Australian attitudes to gardening. So he began to gather a collection that would give a proper historical background to the subject. This is the collection he has presented to the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.
Source: Megan Martin, 'The Richard Clough collection of garden books' Insites, Spring 2004, Issue 40. Photo: Barbara Konkolowicz, detail of original, 2004.