[[File:1680.jpg|thumb|252px|Fig. 2, Anonymous, Garden seat from Somerset County, Md., 1780.]]
The meaning of seat as estate was exemplified in colonial America by [[William Byrd II|William Byrd II's]] [[Westover]], on the James River, Va., and [[Henry Pratt|Henry Pratt's]] [[Lemon Hill]] in Philadelphia. Such country houses were often featured in portraits that flattered the owner and signaled to the public that the colonies and new republic were home to a cultured elite rivaling that of Great Britain. These images typically located the house at the center of the property, with the landscape and various outbuildings extending beyond it. This placement, which communicated the importance of the house as the base of operations for the landowner, was a visual shorthand for the landowner’s affluence and power. Observers such as [[William Hugh Grove]] (1732) and [[Thomas Gwatkin]] (1770) often likened seats to small villages. By the mid-eighteenth century, however, the community-like aspects of seats were downplayed in favor of their rural associations, which contrasted sharply with the increasingly crowded conditions of America’s cities. English emigré [[William Russell Birch]], in his series ''The Country Seats of the United States of America'' (1808), depicted the homes of the mid- Atlantic elite situated in naturalistic landscapes in emulation of British tableaux [Fig. 1].<ref>Emily Tyson Cooperman, “William Russell Birch (1755–1834) and the Beginnings of the American Picturesque” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1999), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/VSCXM9WR view on Zotero]. See also Emily T. Cooperman, introduction to ''The Country Seats of the United States of North America'', by William Russell Birch (1808; reprint, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2009), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/TNTZAF2Q view on Zotero].</ref>
[[File:0854.jpg|thumb|left|175px|Fig. 3, [[Alexander Jackson Davis]], Shore Seat for Montgomery Place, 1870-79.]]
[[File:0854.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 3, [[Alexander Jackson Davis]], Shore Seat for Montgomery Place, 1870-79.]] [[File:1723.jpg|thumb|225px|Fig. 4, [[James Gibbs]], "Two other Seats for the same purpose [for the ends of walks]," in ''A Book of Architecture'' (1728), pl. 83.]] 
As a category of garden furniture, seat could refer to either the object upon which one sat [Fig. 2] or the structure housing such objects [Fig. 3]. Accounts found in foreign treatises available in America (such as those by [[A.-J. Dézallier D’Argenville]], [[Isaac Ware]], [[William Marshall]], [[Humphry Repton]], and John Abercrombie) focused on seats as places of rest, terminations to [[walk]]s, or vantage points from which to contemplate [[view]]s. Like other garden structures, such as [[pavilion]]s or [[summerhouse]]s, seats influenced the viewer’s experience of the garden by providing points of rest that framed [[vista]]s in the garden and [[view]]s beyond. The use of seats to direct one’s route through a garden was demonstrated by [[A. J. Downing]] in his 1847 description of [[Montgomery Place]], Dutchess County, N.Y. [[A. J. Downing|Downing]] noted the placement of various seats and related [[view]]s that he encountered on the course of his [[walk]] through the grounds. Many other garden observers, including Henry Wansey (1794), John Cosens Ogden (1800), and Eliza Caroline Burgwin Clitherall (active 1801), also commented upon the interrelationships between seats, [[walk]]s, and [[view]]s. Popular gardening journals likewise recommended placing seats along [[walk]]s. For example, in 1841 [[Alexander Walsh]] proposed a number of seats in a garden design published in ''The New England Farmer''. Two seats were situated at cross-walks and another two were ensconced in an arched [[arbor]], placed alongside the main axial [[walk]].
[[File:0082.jpg|thumb|left|150px|Fig. 5, Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, attr., “A Garden Seat by Mr. Jones, From Chamber’s Kew,” c. 1820.]] [[File:1737.jpg|thumb|175px|Fig. 6, Batty and Thomas Langley, "An Umbrello, to a Seat, for to Terminate a walk, View, &c. in a Garden," in ''Gothic Architecture'' (1747), pl. 31.]] Garden seats took on a variety of forms. In the eighteenth century, European andBritish pattern books and design manuals such as [[James Gibbs|James Gibbs’s]] ''A Book of Architecture'' (1728) were an important source for American seat designs [Fig. 4]. Drawings by [[Thomas Jefferson]] and by his granddaughter, Cornelia Jefferson Randolph [Fig. 5], demonstrate the influence of William Kent’s designs on garden furniture, which appeared in [[William Chambers|William Chambers’s]] ''Plans, Elevations, Sections and Perspective Views of the Gardens and Buildings at Kew in Surrey'' (1763), a volume that [[Thomas Jefferson|Jefferson]] owned.<ref> William Bainter O’Neal, ''Jefferson’s Fine Arts Library: His Selections for the University of Virginia Together with His Own Architectural Books'' (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976), 57. [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/CUP9BNW2 view on Zotero].</ref>
Seat designs could be differentiated by national and historical styles, as well as by placement and function. [[Batty Langley|Batty]] and Thomas Langley, for instance, proposed a seat in keeping with the Gothic style in their 1747 text about Gothic architecture [Fig. 6]. [[J. C. Loudon]], in ''An Encyclopaedia of Gardening'' (1826), distinguished among seats found inside garden buildings, roofed seats that could be either fixed or portable, and those lacking any sort of roof. [[J. C. Loudon|Loudon]] explained that in form, seats could be simple (like the trunk of a tree) or more complex (such as a cast-iron couch with decorative treatment). These distinctions were echoed by [[Jane Loudon]] in ''Gardening for Ladies'' (1845), a book that was co-edited by [[A. J. Downing|Downing]] in America.
-- ''Anne L. Helmreich''
 
 
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