landscape garden

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landscape garden. Park, often inspired by the paintings of Classical landscapes by Claude, Poussin, etc., with land modelled to have contours, clumps or plantations of trees carefully conceived, water in the form of a lake or a river, and sometimes strategically placed fabriques. Distant views might extend over farmland that was worked, so the farm-buildings could be designed as features (ferme ornée), but the overall composition was asymmetrical. Such gardens were first created in England (e.g. Stourhead, Wilts., and Stowe, Bucks.), and may have been prompted by Sir William Temple (1628–99), who, in his Upon the Garden of Epicurus (1685), contrasted the ‘symmetries, or uniformities’ of formal European with irregular and asymmetrical so-called Chinese gardens (which he described as ‘without any order or disposition of parts’, called Sharawadgi). Not long afterwards, Anthony Ashley Cooper (1671–1713), 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, in The Moralists (1709), poured scorn on the ‘formal mockery’ of what he described as ‘princely’ gardens, contrasting them with the beauties of natural landscapes, the ‘genuine order’ of which was uncorrupted by artifice or ‘caprice’. In The Moralists and Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times (1711) he associated aesthetics with a moral sense, praised ‘wildernesses’ as divine creations, and argued that in gardens true Order, the work of God, could be found outside the rigidities of formal layouts. He provided a philosophical basis for the design of Georgian gardens, and, in his support for naturalism over formality in garden design, anticipated later writers. Joseph Addison (1672–1719), for example, expounded his theories of landscape design, deplored excesses of topiary, and condemned French formality. Alexander Pope attacked (1713) fashionable formality and topiary, advocating a return to the ‘amiable simplicity of unadorned nature’, and a respect for the genius loci. Very soon landscape gardens were perceived as superior to ‘unnatural’ formal French gardens, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but from moral and political views as well: they represented Freedom and Liberty, contrasted with Absolutism. Switzer was one of the first to create an English landscape garden (e.g. at the ‘wilder-ness’ at Castle Howard, Yorks., and Grimsthorpe, Lincs.), but he was also influential as the author of Ichonographia Rustica (1715–18) in which he pointed out that entire estates, with gardens, woodlands, and farmland, should be designed with respect for natural features, and that the ‘useful and profitable’ parts of an estate could also contribute to the aesthetic pleasures of the garden as a whole (e.g. ferme ornée). Other C18 books gave practical advice on the design of gardens and fabriques, but a further transformation of the English garden was prompted by the writings of William Shenstone (1714–63—e.g. his Unconnected Thoughts on Gardening (1764)), William Mason (1725–97—his The English Garden (1772–81)), Horace Walpole (On Modern Gardening (1780), later (1785) published as Essay on Modern Gardening), and Knight's and Price's important observations on the Picturesque. It became widely accepted that improvements could be made to natural landscapes, but that the genius loci should always be respected. Bridgeman was an early practitioner (with Switzer), but Kent took things further, using devices such as the ha-ha to make his gardens flow seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, and the country-house did not domi-nate, but seemed to merge with, the landscape garden. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown developed designs with woodland arranged in fields and by lakes: not everyone was convinced, e.g. Chambers (who promoted what he said was a ‘Chinese’ style, complete with Chinoiserie fabriques) and enthusiasts for the Picturesque, who felt Brown's work was al-together too bland and predictable, and urged greater variety, and even roughness at times. Repton reverted to formal terraces, symmetrical flower beds, and the like, with occasional avenues of trees, and merged aspects of Brown's method with a more rigid geometry. The presence of allusions to commemoration (e.g. the urn in Shenstone's garden in Worcs.), and the various garden-buildings at Stowe, Bucks., caused a gradual transformation. Buildings, memorials, and cenotaphs in land-scape gardens could not only enhance them, but could trigger memories. As the English landscape garden became accepted on the Continent (partly through translations of Addison, Pope, and Shaftesbury), it went through subtle metamorphoses. An important ‘wild’ or ‘natural’ garden (an Élysée) was described by J.- J. Rousseau (1712–78) in La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761), and this influenced the design of the gardens of the Marquis de Girardin at Ermenonville, Oise (1766–76), explained in the Marquis's own De la composition des paysages (1777). Rousseau, born a Protestant, was regarded as a ‘heretic’, and when he died at Ermenonville, the Marquis had him buried on the Île des Peupliers in the Élysée as an act of friendship, but also as a public statement of his open-mindedness and lack of bigotry in response to Edward Young's (1683–1765) description of ‘Narcissa's Burial’ in Night Thoughts (1742), which had come out in German in 1751–2 and in French in 1769, and which described the anguish of having to bury a loved one surreptitiously by night because of RC attitudes towards ‘heretics’. The publication of images of Rousseau's grave on his island of poplars was very influential, and encouraged the idea of not only commemorating ideas and the dead in gardens, but burying them under monuments in gardens to make a political and philosophical point (the cenotaph of Admiral de Coligny (1517–72—who had been murdered during the St Bartholomew's Day excesses in France) at Maupertuis is one example, and the tomb of Antoine Court de Gébelin (1725–84) in the gardens of Claude- Camille- François, Comte d'Albon (1753–89) at Franconville-la-Garenne is another. Various theoretical writings followed (which emphasized the idea of gardens as agents of mnemonics and association), among which may be cited Observations on Modern Gardening (1770) by Thomas Whately (d. 1772), Essai sur les Jardins (1774) by Watelet, Theorie der Gartenkunst (1779–85) by Hirschfeld, Théories des jardins (1776) by Jean-Marie Morel (1728–1810—particularly interesting on fabriques), and Jardins anglo-chinois ou détails des nouveaux jardins à la mode (1776–87) by Georges-Louis Le Rouge (1712–78). At Wörlitz at Anhalt-Dessau's England-by-the-Elbe, ideas from England and France (e.g. the Rousseau-Insel or Île des Peupliers from Ermenonville) were merged with associationist themes to create a Gartenreich (Garden Kingdom) of great beauty and evocative power. Landscape gardens at, e.g. Pavlovsk and Tsarskoe Selo (1780s—by Cameron and others), Powzki, near Warsaw (1770s—by Zug and J. P. Norblin de la Gourdaine (1745–1830), now the cemetery), Arkadia, near Nieborów, Poland (1777–early C19—by Zug, Ittar, Norblin, and others— which also had an Île des Peupliers based on the exemplar at Ermenonville), the English Garden, Munich (from 1789—by Rumford and Sckell— it was probably the first example where the English landscape garden style was adopted for a public park), the jardin anglais, Bagatelle, Paris (1778–80—by Bélanger, realized by Blaikie), and others influenced later develop-ments, including campus design, cemeteries, Garden Cities, and suburbs, public parks, etc.


Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, cxvi (2004) 83–126;
Buttlar (1982, 1989);
D. Chambers (1993);
Desmond & and Ellwood (1994);
Gothein (1966);
Hunt (1992, 2002);
Hunt & P. Willis (eds.) (1989);
Journal of Garden History, xiv/2 (Summer 1994), 92–118;
Mosser & and Teyssot (1991);
Racine (ed.) (2001);
Sieveking (ed.) (1908);
O. Sirén (1990);
Wiebenson (1978)