A Project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art
History of Early American Landscape Design

Ephraim Chambers

[http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/research/casva/research-projects.html A Project of the National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts ]
Revision as of 18:12, September 20, 2018 by Bchristen (talk | contribs) (short-form headers fix x 2 (35+ to go))

Ephraim Chambers (c. 1680–May 15, 1740), an English writer and translator, compiled the Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1728), generally considered the first modern encyclopedia, which was widely used in the American colonies and an important source of ancient and modern ideas about gardening.[1]


During his apprenticeship to the London bookseller, publisher, and globe-maker John Senex (d. 1740), Chambers developed a plan to create a general encyclopedia of knowledge.[2] Of the wide range of sources consulted, he later asserted: “No body that fell in my way has been spared, antient nor modern, foreign nor domestic, Christian nor Jew, nor Heathen: philosophers, divines, mathematicians, critics, casuists, grammarians, physicians, antiquaries, mechanics, have been all brought under contribution.”[3] One of Chambers’s goals was to simplify and clarify word usage—“to expunge the modern French and Italian terms in the several arts, where we have Latin and Greek ones; and even the Latin and Greek ones, where we have English or Saxon ones, equal in sound and significancy” [sic].[4] The first edition, divided into two illustrated folio volumes, was published by subscription in 1728 with a dedication to George II. The articles appeared in alphabetical order, but Chambers adopted the novel approach of connecting them through an extensive cross-referencing system. A philosophical preface at the beginning of the first volume divided all knowledge into forty-seven separate branches and listed the articles that belonged to each. Thus, in addition to simply checking the meaning of individual words, readers could investigate subjects in a systematic manner, employing the book as “a course of antient and modern learning.”[5] The pioneering example of Chambers’s Cyclopedia influenced subsequent publications, including Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755).[6]

Chambers’s discussion of garden terminology and practice drew on several ancient authors (including Pliny and Vitruvius),[7] as well as a number of modern English and French authors. Writers in English included the nurseryman and garden designer George London (c. 1640–1714) and his partner Henry Wise (c. 1653–1738) of the Brompton Nursery in London, who had laid out important gardens in the geometric style, and their student Stephen Switzer (1682–1745), an early proponent of the natural or English style. Chambers also referred to the Rev. John Lawrence (1668–1732), a horticulturalist who specialized in the cultivation of fruit; John Mortimer (c. 1656–1736), a merchant and writer on agriculture, known for The Whole Art of Husbandry, in the way of Managing and Improving of Land (1707); and John Evelyn (1620–1706), a gardener, founding member of the Royal Society, and prolific writer on topics ranging from practical estate management to gardening to philosophy. The French authors consulted by Chambers included the soil scientist Olivier de Serres (1539–1619), author of Théâtre d'Agriculture (1600); the doctor and agronomist Jean Liébault (1535–1596), whose publications include Praedium rusticum (1554) and L’Agriculture et maison rustique (1564); the agronomist Noël Chomel (1633–1712), author of the Dictionnaire œconomique; Pierre Bellon, author of Les remontrances sur le defaut de labour (1558); and Pierre de Croiscens, who produced the 1539 French translation of the medieval Italian almanac Rustican. Chambers also appears to have consulted the Spaniard Gabriel Alonzo de Herrara’s Libro de agriculture (1539).[8]

In addition to his Cyclopedia, Chambers produced English translations of French books on perspective, chemistry, and architecture. His Treatise of Architecture, with Remarks and Observations (1723), a translation of a work of 1714 by the French artist Sébastien Le Clerc (1637–1714), circulated in America as one of the earliest systematic studies of architectural ornament available in English.[9] Toward the end of his life, Chambers collaborated with the botanist John Martyn (1699–1768) on an English translation of the five-volume Philosophical History and Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris (1742).[10] At the time of his death, Chambers had gathered copious materials for a new edition of the Cyclopaedia, which it fell to the prolific English botanist John Hill (1714–1775) to compile in a two-volume supplement published in 1753. Hill evidently included extensive transcriptions from his own botanical writings, which led to the remark that he had “render[ed] the work rather a Gardener’s Calendar than a Supplement to a Dictionary of Arts and Sciences.”[11]

Robyn Asleson


“AJUTAGE, or ADJUTAGE, in hydraulics, part of the apparatus of an artificial fountain, or jet d’eau; being a sort of tube, fitted to the mouth or aperture of the vessel: through which the water is to be played, and by it determined into this or that figure. . . .”

ALLEY*, in gardening, a strait parallel walk, bordered or bounded on each hand with trees, shrubs, or the like. See GARDEN, WALK, EDGING, &tc.
“* The word alley is derived from the French word aller, to go; the ordinary use of an alley being for a walk, passage, or thorowfare from one place to another.
Alleys are usually laid either with grass or gravel. See GRASS, and GRAVEL-Walk.
“An Alley is distinguished from a path, in this; that in an alley there must always be room enough for two persons at least to walk abreast; so that it must be never less than five feet in breadth; and there are some who hold that it ought never to have more than fifteen.
Counter-ALLEYS, are the little alleys by the sides of the great ones.
Front-ALLEY, is that which runs strait in the face of a building.
Transverse ALLEY, that which cuts the former at right angles.
Diagonal ALLEY, that which cuts a square, thicket, parterre, &c. from angle to angle.
Sloping ALLEY, is that which either by reason of the slowness of the point of sight, or of the ground, is neither parallel to the front, nor to the transverse alleys.
ALLEYS in Ziczac, is that which has too great a descent, and which, on that account, is liable to be damaged by floods; to prevent the ill effects whereof, it has platbands of turf run across it from space to space, which help to keep up the gravel. This last name is likewise given to an alley in a labyrinth, or wilderness, formed by several returns of angles, in order to render it the more solitary and obscure, and to hide its exit.
ALLEY in Perspective, is that which is larger at the entrance than at the exit; to give it a great appearance of length.
ALLEY of Compartiment, is that which separates the squares of a parterre. . . .”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
APIARY*, bee-house; a place where bees are kept; and furnished with all the apparatus necessary for that purpose. See BEE, HIVE, BOX. &c.
“*The word comes from the Latin, apis, a bee. The apiary should be skreened from high winds on every side, either naturally or artificially; and well defended from poultry, &c. whose dung is offensive to bees. See GARDEN, HONEY &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
ARBOUR, among gardeners, &c. a kind of shady bower or cabinet, contrived to take the air in; yet keep out the sun and rain. See GARDEN.
Arbours are now gone much into disuse; being apt to be damp, and unwholesome.—They are distinguished into natural and artificial.
Natural ARBOURS, are formed only of the branches of trees, interwoven artfully, and borne up by strong lattice-work, poles, hoops, &c. which make galleries, halls, porticoes, and green vista’s naturally covered.
“The trees wherewith these arbours are formed, are usually the female elm, or Dutch lime-tree; in regard they easily yield, and by their great quantity of small boughs, form a thick brush-wood: the lower parts are filled up with horn-beam.
Artificial ARBOURS, and cabinets, are made of lattice-work, borne up by standards, cross-rails, circles and arches of iron. For which purpose they make use of small fillets of oak, which being planted and made strait, are wrought in checkers, and fastened with wire.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
ARCH, in architecture, is a concave structure, raised with a mould bent in form of the arch of a curve, and serving as the inward support of any superstructure. . . .
Triumphal ARCH, is a gate, or passage into a city, built of stone, or marble, and magnificently adorned with architecture, sculpture, inscriptions, &c. serving not only to adorn a triumph, at the return from a victorious expedition, but also to preserve the memory of the conqueror to posterity. See TRIUMPH.
“The most celebrated triumphal arches, now remaining of antiquity, are that of Titus, of Septimius Severus, and of Constantine, at Rome, of which we have figures given us by Des Godetz.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
AVENUE, in gardening, is a walk, planted on each side with trees, and leading to some place. See GROVE, GLADE.
“All avenues, Mortimer says, should lead to the front of an house, garden-gate, highway-gate, or wood, and terminate in a prospect.—In an avenue to an house, whatever the length of the walk is, it ought to be as wide as the whole breadth of the front; and if wider, better.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
BASON is also used on various occasions for a small reservatory of water: as the bason of a jet d'eau, or fountain; the bason of a port, of a bath, &c. which last Vitruvius calls labrum. See FOUNTAIN.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
BATH, BALNEUM, a convenient receptacle of water for persons to wash, or plunge in, either for health or pleasure. See WATER. Baths are either natural or artificial. Natural, again, are either hot or cold. . . .
BATHS, BALNEA, in architecture, denote large pompous buildings among the ancients, erected for the sake of bathing.
Baths made a part of the ancient gymnasia.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
BED, in gardening, a piece of made-ground, raised above the level of the adjoining ground, usually square or oblong, and enriched with dung or other amendments; intended for the raising of herbs, flowers, seeds, roots, or the like.
““Hot-BED. See the article HOT-Bed.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
CASCADE*, a steep fall of water, from a higher into a lower place. See CATARACT.
“* The word is French, formed of the Italian cascata, which signifies the same; of cascare to fall; and that from the latin cadere.
Cascades are either natural, as that of Tivoli; or artificial, as those of Versailles, &c. and either falling with a gentle descent, as those of the Sceaux; in form of a buffet, as at Trianon; or down steps, in form of a perron, as at St. Clou; or from bason to bason, &c. . . .
CATARACT * of Water, a fall, or precipice, in the channel, or bed of a river; caused by rocks, or other obstacles, stopping the course of its stream: from whence the water falls with a great noise and impetuosity.
“* The word comes from the Greek . . . cum impetu decido, I tumble down with violence; compounded of . . . down; and . . . dejicio, I throw down.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
COLUMN, in architecture, a round pillar, made to support, or adorn, a building. . . .
Statuary COLUMN, that which supports a statue. . . .
Symbolical COLUMN, is a column representing some particular country, by the attributes proper thereto. . . .
Triumphal COLUMN, a column erected among the ancients in honour of an hero; the joints of the stones, or courses whereof, were covered with as many crowns, as he had made different military expeditions.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
CONSERVATORY, in gardening, See GREEN-House.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
COPPICE or COPSE, a little wood, consisting of underwoods; and may be raised either by sowing, or planting. See WOOD.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
DIAL is more accurately defined, a draught, or description of certain lines on a plane, or surface of a body given, so contrived, as that the shadow of a style, or ray of the sun passed through a hole therein, shall touch certain points at certain hours. See STYLE.
“The diversity of Sun-Dials arises from the different situation of the planes, and the different figure of the surfaces whereon they are described; whence they become denominated equinoctial, horizontal, vertical, polar, direct, erect, declining, inclining, reclining, cylindrical, &c."

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
ESPALIER, in the French gardening, a wall-tree; or a fruit-tree, which is not left to grow at liberty in full air, but has its branches nailed or fastened to a wall, near which it is planted; and thus growing, it is made to conform it self to the flat though unnatural, figure thereof. See FRUIT-Tree, WALL, &c.
ESPALIERS, in our gardening, are rows of trees, planted regularly round the out-side of a garden, or plantation, for the general security thereof, from the violence and injury of the winds; or else only round some part of a garden, for the particular security of a plantation of orange trees, lemon trees, myrtles, or other tender plants; or, lastly for the bounding of borders, walks, avenues, &c. See GARDEN, &c.
Espaliers are now come into mighty use, with respect to the first of these intentions: in effect, it is found by experience, that the best brick, or stone walls, are not of themselves sufficient security to fruit-trees, from the ravages of blighting winds. See WALL.
“The reason may be, that being built close and compact, they repel the winds, and by that means damage the tender plants, that lie within the reach of the repulsion. But these espaliers serve to deaden the violence of the winds, so as the tender greens, or plants, encompassed by them, rest serene and quiet.
“Thus, if the espaliers, for instance, be of spruce holly, or yew, they give way to the fource of tempestuous winds beating against them, without occasioning any resilition thereof.
“Mess. London and Wise, direct them to be planted at some distance, without the outmost bounds, or walls of gardens, &c. Two, or three rows of trees, they think sufficient, from 18 or 20 to 25 foot a-part. And as to the method, or order, of disposing the trees, the most commodious is where the middle row makes every where equilateral triangles with the extreme rows, in the following manner. See QUINCUNX.
“The trees recommended for making, or planting, these espalier fences, are the elm, lime, beech, Scotch fir, oak, pine and sycamores; but particularly the two first. For the method of planting them, see PLANTING, TRANSPLANTING, &c.
“As for espalier hedges, or hedge rows for defence of tender greens, and plants, from destructive winds in the summer season; if there be occasion to use them the first or second year after they are planted, a substantial frame of wood must be made, seven or eight foot high, with posts and rails. And to this espalier frame, must the side boughs of the young trees be tied, to cause the espalier to thicken the sooner.
“For the form of such an espalier, it must be oblong, running north and south.—It may be planted with apples, pears, holly, laurel, lime, maple, white-thorn, yew, &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
FOUNTAIN, or artificial FOUNTAIN, in hydraulicks, a machine, or contrivance, whereby the water is violently spouted, or darted up; called also Jet d’Eau. See JET d’ Eau, FLUID, &c.
“There are divers kinds of artificial Fountains; some founded on the spring, or elasticity of the air; and others on the pressure or weight of the water, &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
“GARDEN. . . .
Gardens are distinguished into flower-gardens, fruit-gardens, and kitchen-gardens: the first for pleasure, and ornament; and therefore placed in the most conspicuous parts: the two latter for service; and therefore made in by-places.”
“The chief furniture of pleasure gardens are, parterres, vista’s, glades, groves, compartiments, quincunces, verdant halls, arbour work, mazes, labyrinths, fountains, cabinets, cascades, canals, terraces, &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
“GLADE, in agriculture, gardening, &c. a vista, or open and light passage, made through a thick wood, grove, or the like; by lopping off the branches of trees along the way. See AVENUE, GROVE, &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
“GRASS plots, and walks, make a considerable article in gardening, &c. See WALK, &c.
Grass, or green-plots are had either by sowing of hayseed, or laying of turf: for the first, which is the cheapest way, the seed of the finest upland pastures is to be chose, well sifted and cleansed.
“For the second, the turf should be cut on a down, or green, or common, or sheep-walk, where the grass is short and fine; if there be any knobs, or roughnesses, the place must be cleansed and rolled after a shower, before it be cut up. The turf is cut in squares, marked out with lines, raised with a knife, and rolled up; about three inches thick. The quarters, or verges are to be prepared with a fine coat of poor earth to lay the turf on; and after laying, the turf must be well watered, rolled, &c. . . .”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
“GRAVEL walk, in gardening.—To lay, or form a walk with gravel, all the good soil is to be pared away, below the roots of any grass, or weeds; then the place to be filled two or threeinches with coarse gravel unsearsed, laying it highest in the middle; then rolling it. . . .
“Note, the sides next the beds should be laid a foot and an half, or two foot with turf, from whence the heat of the sun cannot be reflected as from gravel, to the prejudice of the neighbouring flowers.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
GREENHOUSE, or conservatory; a house of shelter in a garden, contrived for preserving the more tender and curious exotic plants, which will not bear the winter’s cold abroad in our climate. See EXOTIC.
Greenhouses, as now built, serve not only as conservatories, but likewise as ornaments of gardens; being usually large and beautiful structures, in form of galleries, wherein the plants are handsomely ranged in cases for the purpose. See GARDEN.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
GROTTO*, or GROTTA, in natural history, a large deep cavern or den in a mountain or rock. . . .
GROTTO, is also used for a little artificial edifice made in a garden, in imitation of a natural grotto. The outsides of these grotto’s are usually adorned with rustic architecture, and their inside with shell-work, furnished like-wise with various jet-d’eaus, or fountains, &c.
“The grotto at Versailles is an excellent piece of building.—Solomon de Caux has an express treatise of grotto’s and fountains.
“* The word is Italian, grotta, formed according to Menage, and &c. from the Latin crypta: du Cange observes, that grotta was used in the same sense in the corrupt Latin.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
HEDGE*, in agriculture, &c. a fence, inclosing a field, garden, or the like; made of branches of trees interwoven. See FENCE.
“* The word is formed of the German hag, or haeg, or the Anglo Saxon hegge, or hege; which signifies simply inclosure, circumference.
Quick-set HEDGE, is that made of quick or live trees, which have taken root; in contradistinction to that made of faggots, hurdles, or dry boughs.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
HERMITAGE, properly signifies a little hut, or habitation, in some desart place, where a hermit dwells.
HERMITAGE is also popularly attributed to any religious cell, built and endowed in a private and recluse place; and thus annexed to some large abbey, of which the superior was called hermita.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
“HOT-BED, a piece of earth or soil plentifull enriched with manure, and defended from cold winds, &c. to forward the growth of plants, and force vegetation, when the season or the climate of itself is not warm enough.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (1:n.p.)[12]
JET D’EAU, a French word, signifying a fountain that casts up water to any considerable heighth in the air. See FOUNTAIN.
“Mariotte shews, that a jet d’eau will never raise water so high as its reservoir, but always falls short of it by a space, which is in a subduplicate ratio of that heighth.—The same author shews, that if a greater jet branch out into many smaller ones, or be distributed through several jets, the square of the diameter of the main pipe, must be proportioned to the sum of all the expences of its branches: and that if the reservoir be 52 foot high, and the adjutage half an inch in diameter, the pipe ought to be three inches in diameter.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
LABYRINTH . . . among the ancients, was a large intricate edifice cut out into various isles, and meanders, running into each other, so as to render it difficult to get out of it.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
MOUND, a term used for a bank, rampart, or other fence, particularly of earth.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
MOUNT, an elevation of earth, called also mountain. See MOUNTAIN.
“The words mount and mountain are synonymous.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
NURSERY, in gardening, denotes a seminary, or seed-plot, for raising young trees, or plants. See SEMINARY.
“Some authors make a difference between nursery and seminary, holding the former not to be a place wherein plants are sown; but a place for the reception and rearing of young plants, which are removed, or transplanted hither from the seminary, &c. See PLANTING, TRANSPLANTION, &c.
“Mr. Lawrence recommends the having several nurseries, for the several kinds of trees: One for tall standards; viz. apples, ashes, elms, limes, oaks, pears, sycamores, &c. Another for dwarfs; viz. such as are intended for apricots, cherries, peaches, plumbs, &c. and a third for evergreens. See FRUIT.
“The nursery for standards should be in a rich, light soil.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
OBELISK*, OBELISCUS, a quadrangular pyramid, very slender, and high; raised as an ornament, in some public place, or to shew some stone of enormous size; and frequently charged with inscriptions, and hieroglyphics. See MONUMENT.
“* Borel derives the word from the Greek . . . a spit, broach, spindler, or even a kind of long javelin.—Pliny says, the Egyptians cut their obelisks in form of sun-beams; and that in the Phoenician language, the word obelisk signifies ray. . . .
“The difference between obelisks and pyramids, according to some, consists in this, that the latter have large bases, and the former very small ones.
“Though Cardan makes the difference to consist in this, that obelisks are to be all of a piece, or to consist of a single stone, and pyramids of several. See PYRAMID.
“The proportions of the heighth and thickness are nearly the same in all obelisks; that is, their heighth is nine, or nine and a half, sometimes ten times their thickness; and their thickness or diameter a-top is never less than half, nor greater than three fourths of that at bottom.
“This kind of monument appears very antient; and we are told was first made use of to transmit to posterity the principle precepts of philosophy, which were engraven in hieroglyphical characters hereon.—In after times they were used to immortalize the actions of heroes, and the memory of persons beloved.
“The first obelisk we know of, was that raised by Ramses, king of Egypt, in the time of the Trojan war. It was 40 cubits high, and, according to Herodotus, employed 20000 men in the building. Phius, another king of Egypt, raised one of 45 cubits; and Ptolemy Philadelphus another of 88 cubits, in memory of Arsinoe. Vid. Porphyry.
“Augustus erected an obelisk at Rome in the Campus Martius, which served to mark the hours on a horizontal dial drawn on the pavement. See DIAL.
“F. Kircher reckons up 14 obelisks celebrated above the rest.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
ORCHARD, a seminary or plantation of fruit trees, chiefly apples and pears. See FRUIT-tree.
“It is a rule among gardeners, that those orchards, caeteris paribus, thrive best, which lie open to the south, south-west, and south-east; and are screened from the north: the soil dry, and deep. See EXPOSURE.
Orchards are stocked by transplantation; seldom by semination.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PARK*, PARCUS, a large inclosure, privileged for wild beasts of chase, either by the king’s grant, or by prescription.
“*The word is originally Celtic, it signifies an inclosure, or place shut up with walls.
“Manwood defines a park a place of privilege for beasts of venery, and other wild beasts of the forest, and of chase, tam sylvestres quam campestres.—A park differs from a forest in that, as Crompton observes, a subject may hold a park by prescription, or the king’s grant, which he cannot do by a forest. See FOREST.
“A park differs from a chase also; for that a park must be enclosed; if it lie open, it is a good cause of seizing it into the king’s hand; as a free chase may be, if it be enclosed. Nor can the owner have any action against such as hunt in his park, if it lie open. See CHASE.
“Du Cange refers the invention of parks to king Henry I. of England; but Spelman shews, it is much more ancient; and was in use among the Anglo-Saxons. Zosimus assures us, the ancient kings of Persia had parks.
PARK is also used for a moveable pallisade set up in the fields to inclose sheep in to feed, and rest in during the night. See HURDLES.
“The shepherds shift their park, from time to time, to dung the ground, one part after another.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PARTERRE, in gardening, that open part of a garden into which we enter, coming out of the house; usually, set with flowers, or divided into beds, encompassed with platbands, &c. See GARDEN.
“The Parterre is a level division of ground, which, for the most part, faces the south and best front of a house, and is generally furnished with greens, flowers, &c.
“There are divers kinds of parterres, as bowling-green or plain parterres; parterres of embroidery; parterres cut in shell-work, in scrollwork, &c. with sand allies between.
“An oblong, or long square is accounted the most proper figure for a parterre; the sides whereof to be as two, or two and a half to one.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PAVILLION*, in architecture, signifies a kind of turret, or building usually insulated, and contained under a single roof; sometimes square, and sometimes in form of a dome: thus called from the resemblance of its roof to a tent.
“*The word comes from the Italian padiglione, tent, and that from the Latin papilio.
Pavillions are sometimes also projecting pieces, in the front of a building, marking the middle thereof. . . .
“There are pavillions built in gardens, popularly called summer-houses, pleasure-houses, &c.—Some castles or forts consist only of a single pavillion.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PIAZZA, in building, popularly called piache, an Italian name for a portico, or covered walk, supported by arches. See PORTICO.
“The word literally signifies a broad open place or square; whence it also became applied to the walks or portico’s around them.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PLANTATION, in the islands and continent of America, a spot of ground which some planter, or person arrived in a new colony, pitches on to cultivate and till for his own use. See COLONY.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
“PLAT-BAND, in gardening, a border, or bed of flowers, along a wall, or the side of a parterre; frequently edged with box, &c. See PARTERRE, EDGING, &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PLOT, or PLOTT, in gardening. See the article GRASS-plot, &c.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
PORTICO, in architecture, a kind of gallery on the ground; or a piazza encompassed with arches supported by columns, where people walk under covert. See PIAZZA.
“The roof is usually vaulted, sometimes flat. The ancients called it lacunar. See LACUNAR, VAULT, &c.
“Though the word portico be derived from porta, gate, door; yet it is applied to any disposition of columns which form a gallery, without any immediate relation to doors or gates.
“The most celebrated portico’s of antiquity were those of Solomon’s temple, which formed the atrium or court, and encompassed the sanctuary: that of Athens, built for the people to divert themselves in, and wherein the philosophers held their disputes and conversations; which occasioned the disciples of Zeno to be called stoics. . . .
“Among the modern portico’s, the most celebrated is the piazza of St. Peter of the Vatican.—That of Covent-Garden, London, the work of Inigo Jones, is also much admired.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
“QUINCUNX is chiefly used in gardening, for a plantation of trees, disposed originally in a square; consisting of five trees, one at each corner, and a fifth in the middle; which disposition repeated again and again, forms a regular grove, wood, or wilderness, and then viewed by an angle of the square, or parallelogram, presents equal and parallel alleys.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
TEMPLE, in architecture.—The ancient temples were distinguished, with regard to their construction, into various kinds; as,
TEMPLE in antae. . . .
Tetrastyle-TEMPLE. . . .
Prostyle-TEMPLE. . . .
Amphiprostyle, or double prostyle-TEMPLE. . . .
Periptere-TEMPLE. . . .

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
TERRACE, or TERRAS, a walk, or bank of earth raised in a garden or court, to a due elevation for a prospect. See WALKS.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
WALKS, in gardening, See the article ALLEYS.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
WALLS, in gardening, &c.—The position, matter, and form of walls, for fruit-trees, are found to have a great influence on the fruit: though authors differ as to the preference. See GARDEN, ORCHARD, &c.
“The reverend Mr. Lawrence directs, that the WALLS of a garden be not built directly to face the four cardinal points, but rather between them, viz. south-east, south-west, north-east, and north-west: in which the two former will be good enough for the best fruit, and the two latter for plums, cherries, and baking pears. See EXPOSURE.
“Mr. Langford, and some others, propose garden-walls to consist chiefly of semicircles; each about six or eight yards in front, and two trees; and between every two semicircles, including-a space of two feet of plain wall.—By such a provision every part of a wall will enjoy an equal share of the sun, one time with another; beside, that the warmth will be increased, by the collecting and reflecting of the rays in the semicircles; and the trees within be screened from injurious winds.
“As to the materials of walls for fruit-trees, brick, according to Mr. Switzer, is the best; as being the warmest and kindest for the ripening of fruit, and affording the best conveniency for nailing.
“Mr. Lawrence, however, affirms, on his own experience, that mud-walls, made of earth and straw tempered together, are better for the ripening of fruit, than either brick or stone walls: he adds, that the coping of straw laid on such walls, is of great advantage to the fruit, in sheltering them from perpendicular rains, &c.
“M. Fatio, in a particular treatise on the subject, instead of the common perpendicular walls, proposes to have the walls built sloping, or reclining from the sun; that what is planted against them, may lie more exposed to his perpendicular rays; which must contribute greatly to the ripening of fruit in our cold climate.”

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]

  • 1741–43, Cyclopaedia (2:n.p.)[13]
YARD-LAND . . . Virgata terrae, or virga terrae, is a certain quantity of land, various according to the place.—At Wimbleton in Surrey, it is only 15 acres; but in most other countries it contains 20, in some 24, in some 30, and in others 40, to 45 acres. See ACRE.”

Other Resources

Cyclopaedia online, University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries

Library of Congress Authority File

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


  1. Richard Yeo, “Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopædia (1728) and the Tradition of Commonplaces,” Journal of the History of Ideas 57 (1996): 163–64, view on Zotero; Charles W. J. Withers, “Encyclopaedism, Modernism, and the Classification of Geographical Knowledge,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 21 (1996): 276, view on Zotero.
  2. Richard Yeo, Encyclopaedic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 35–36, view on Zotero.
  3. Yeo 2001, 205, view on Zotero; see also Lael Ely Bradshaw, “Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia,” in Notable Encyclopedias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Nine Predecessors of the Encyclopedie, ed. Frank Kafker (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 1981), 128–33, view on Zotero.
  4. Yeo 2001, 160, view on Zotero.
  5. Jeff Loveland, “Unifying Knowledge and Dividing Disciplines: The Development of Treatises in the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica,’” Book History 9 (2006): 65–69, view on Zotero; Yeo 2001, 132–44, view on Zotero; Terence M. Russell, The Encyclopaedic Dictionary in the Eighteenth Century: Architecture, Arts and Crafts, 5 vols. (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 1997), 2–30, view on Zotero; Withers 1996, 282–83, view on Zotero.
  6. Gwin J. Kolb and James H. Sledd, “Johnson’s ‘Dictionary’ and Lexicographical Tradition,” Modern Philology 50 (1953): 181–83, view on Zotero.
  7. Others mentioned under the heading “Agriculture” include Virgil, Cato, Varro, Columella, Palladius Constantinus, Caesar, Baptista Porta, Heresbachius, and Agricola; see Ephraim Chambers, Cyclopaedia: Or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 2 vols. (London: J. and J. Knapton, J. Darby, D. Midwinter, et al., 1728), 1:48, view on Zotero.
  8. Chambers’s exact reference is to “Alphonso Herrara, in Italian”; See Chambers, 1728, 1:48, view on Zotero.
  9. Janice G. Schimmelman, Architectural Books in Early America: Architectural Treatises and Building Handbooks Available in American Libraries and Bookstores (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll, 1999), 77–78, 168, 178, 185, 196, 202, view on Zotero; Helen Park, A List of Architectural Books Available in America Before the Revolution (Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, 1973), 40, 63, view on Zotero.
  10. Yeo 2001, 54, view on Zotero; Bradshaw 1981, 123–24, view on Zotero.
  11. “Original Biographical Anecdotes of Ephraim Chambers,” Gentleman’s Magazine 55, pt. 2 (1785): 672, view on Zotero; see also Russell 1997, 125n, view on Zotero; “The Life of Mr. Ephraim Chambers,” Universal Magazine 76 (1785): 3, view on Zotero.
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 12.19 12.20 12.21 12.22 12.23 12.24 12.25 12.26 Ephraim Chambers, Cyclopaedia, or An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences . . ., 5th ed., 2 vols. (London: D. Midwinter: 1741–43), view on Zotero.
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 13.16 13.17 13.18 13.19 13.20 Ephraim Chambers, Cyclopaedia, or An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. . . ., 5th ed., 2 vols (London: D. Midwinter et al, 1741-43), view on Zotero.

Retrieved from "https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Ephraim_Chambers&oldid=35183"

History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Ephraim Chambers," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Ephraim_Chambers&oldid=35183 (accessed December 10, 2023).

A Project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts

National Gallery of Art, Washington