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History of Early American Landscape Design

Difference between revisions of "Landscape gardening"

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==History==
 
==History==
  
The phrase landscape gardening referred  
+
The phrase landscape gardening referred either specifically to the irregular mode of laying out gardens that originated in England in the early eighteenth century or, more generally, to the art of designing ornamental grounds. The phrase came into currency at the same time that the theoretical basis of the art of landscape and garden design was being examined and that the modern, or natural, style was on the rise. Therefore, the style and the art were often conflated so that it was not unusual for the phrase “the modern style of landscape gardening” to be used. This modern (or natural) style was often contrasted with the “geometric or ancient style of gardening,” which was characterized by some critics as the primitive style that predated the theorization of garden design as a fine art (see Ancient style, Geometric style, and Modern style).1 The practice of landscape gardening in this sense resulted in the landscape garden that, according to John J. Thomas (1848), was “composed of trees, lawns, and sheets of water.” In general, it was an approach intended for extensive grounds that incorporated a park into the scheme (see Park).  
either specifically to the irregular mode of  
 
laying out gardens that originated in England  
 
in the early eighteenth century or, more generally,  
 
to the art of designing ornamental  
 
grounds. The phrase came into currency at  
 
the same time that the theoretical basis of  
 
the art of landscape and garden design was  
 
being examined and that the modern, or  
 
natural, style was on the rise. Therefore, the  
 
style and the art were often conflated so  
 
that it was not unusual for the phrase “the  
 
modern style of landscape gardening” to be  
 
used. This modern (or natural) style was  
 
often contrasted with the “geometric or  
 
ancient style of gardening,” which was characterized  
 
by some critics as the primitive  
 
style that predated the theorization of garden  
 
design as a fine art (see Ancient style,  
 
Geometric style, and Modern style).1 The  
 
practice of landscape gardening in this  
 
sense resulted in the landscape garden that,  
 
according to John J. Thomas (1848), was  
 
“composed of trees, lawns, and sheets of  
 
water.” In general, it was an approach  
 
intended for extensive grounds that incorporated  
 
a park into the scheme (see Park).  
 
  
Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s 1798 statement  
+
Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s 1798 statement that landscape gardening is what “the art of decorating Grounds is called in England” is somewhat ambiguous. It remains unclear as to whether he meant to define landscape gardening as the English style specifically or as the concept of designing ornamental grounds generally (see English style). The second, more inclusive sense of landscape gardening was formulated by practitioners like J. C. Loudon and A. J. Downing, who promoted it as a liberal art akin to painting or music. In An Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1826), Loudon explained that landscape gardening was a practice with a theoretical framework that had been developing since the early eighteenth century: “[T]he art of arranging the different parts which compose the external scenery of a country-residence, so as to produce the different beauties and conveniences of which that scene of domestic life is susceptible.” This included both the geometric and natural styles. Downing, in his Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1849), presented landscape gardening as a fine art, and as an ideal that resulted in “beautiful” and “picturesque” effects [Figs. 1 and 2].  
that landscape gardening is what “the  
 
art of decorating Grounds is called in England”  
 
is somewhat ambiguous. It remains  
 
unclear as to whether he meant to define  
 
landscape gardening as the English style  
 
specifically or as the concept of designing  
 
ornamental grounds generally (see English  
 
style). The second, more inclusive sense of  
 
landscape gardening was formulated by  
 
practitioners like J. C. Loudon and A. J.  
 
Downing, who promoted it as a liberal art  
 
akin to painting or music. In An Encyclopaedia  
 
of Gardening (1826), Loudon explained that  
 
landscape gardening was a practice with a  
 
theoretical framework that had been developing  
 
since the early eighteenth century:  
 
“[T]he art of arranging the different parts  
 
which compose the external scenery of a  
 
country-residence, so as to produce the different  
 
beauties and conveniences of which  
 
that scene of domestic life is susceptible.”  
 
This included both the geometric and natural  
 
styles. Downing, in his Treatise on the  
 
Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening  
 
(1849), presented landscape gardening as a fine art, and as an ideal that resulted in  
 
“beautiful” and “picturesque” effects [Figs. 1  
 
and 2].  
 
  
Loudon and Downing argued that landscape  
+
Loudon and Downing argued that landscape gardening, whether in the geometric or modern style, was an art of imitation built on principles and not an art of facsimile, that is, the pure replication of natural scenery. Downing attributed the phrase “landscape gardening” to William Shenstone but added that it could be applied retroactively to the classical or ancient garden style. Even these theorists periodically slipped into the more exclusive usage at times, considering only the irregular modes, or rather, the modern style garden as landscape gardening (see Picturesque).  
gardening, whether in the geometric  
 
or modern style, was an art of imitation built  
 
on principles and not an art of facsimile, that  
 
is, the pure replication of natural scenery.  
 
Downing attributed the phrase “landscape  
 
gardening” to William Shenstone but added  
 
that it could be applied retroactively to the  
 
classical or ancient garden style. Even these  
 
theorists periodically slipped into the more  
 
exclusive usage at times, considering only  
 
the irregular modes, or rather, the modern  
 
style garden as landscape gardening (see  
 
Picturesque).  
 
  
The stricter definitions of landscape  
+
The stricter definitions of landscape gardening stipulated that this fine art depended solely on the “modern,” or natural style. George Watterston, for example, in 1844 wrote pointedly, “Landscape Gardening, is a modern art. Previous to the last century, it may be said scarcely to have existed.” John J. Thomas (1848) contrasted the larger landscape garden made up of trees, lawns, and sheets of water with the style of the flower garden laid out in geometrical lines. A specific meaning of landscape gardening as a particular style and not a more general discipline was clear in several citations where an author wrote “landscape or picturesque gardening.” That “landscape garden” as a garden type and “landscape gardening” as the professional practice that produced it were being used synonymously is clear.
gardening stipulated that this fine art  
 
depended solely on the “modern,” or natural  
 
style. George Watterston, for example, in  
 
1844 wrote pointedly, “Landscape Gardening,  
 
is a modern art. Previous to the last century,  
 
it may be said scarcely to have existed.”  
 
John J. Thomas (1848) contrasted the larger  
 
landscape garden made up of trees, lawns,  
 
and sheets of water with the style of the  
 
flower garden laid out in geometrical lines. A  
 
specific meaning of landscape gardening as  
 
a particular style and not a more general  
 
  
discipline was clear in several citations
+
Thomas Jefferson was intrigued both theoretically and experimentally by the landscape gardening movement. In this period Thomas Whately’s Observations on Modern Gardening (1770) was considered the most mature writing about landscape gardening, and it was with this book in hand that Jefferson toured English gardens with John Adams in 1786. Whately’s comments on color, meaning, association, and function in the landscape garden are reflected in Jefferson’s notes made during the latter’s visits to several of the most famous English gardens. A comparison of these notes to his instructions for Monticello gives evidence of the profound impact of that trip on his sense of landscape aesthetics. Jefferson was particularly interested in flowers and shrubs that brought a great deal of color and variety to his garden. Although he used the phrase “the art of gardening” or simply “gardening” when discussing the subject, Jefferson was
where an author wrote “landscape or picturesque
+
clearly considering the recent version of the art form “in the perfection to which it [had] been lately brought in England.” Jefferson also referred to landscape gardening as “the style of the English garden.”2
gardening.” That “landscape garden”
 
as a garden type and “landscape gardening”  
 
as the professional practice that produced it
 
were being used synonymously is clear.  
 
  
Thomas Jefferson was intrigued both
+
The broader meanings of the phrase “landscape gardening” as a fine art continued to be used into the nineteenth century. Edgar Allen Poe described two types of landscape gardening, the natural and the artificial in his short story, “The Landscape Garden” (1842). For William H. Ranlett (1849), landscape gardening was formerly practiced in the ancient or geometric style but succeeded in recent times by the modern or natural style.  
theoretically and experimentally by the
 
landscape gardening movement. In this
 
period Thomas Whately’s Observations on
 
Modern Gardening (1770) was considered the
 
most mature writing about landscape gardening,
 
and it was with this book in hand
 
that Jefferson toured English gardens with
 
John Adams in 1786. Whately’s comments on
 
color, meaning, association, and function in
 
the landscape garden are reflected in Jefferson’s
 
notes made during the latter’s visits to
 
several of the most famous English gardens.
 
A comparison of these notes to his instructions
 
for Monticello gives evidence of the
 
profound impact of that trip on his sense of
 
landscape aesthetics. Jefferson was particularly
 
interested in flowers and shrubs that
 
brought a great deal of color and variety to
 
his garden. Although he used the phrase
 
“the art of gardening” or simply “gardening”
 
when discussing the subject, Jefferson was
 
 
 
clearly considering the recent version of the
 
art form “in the perfection to which it [had]
 
been lately brought in England.” Jefferson
 
also referred to landscape gardening as “the
 
style of the English garden.”2
 
 
 
The broader meanings of the phrase  
 
“landscape gardening” as a fine art continued  
 
to be used into the nineteenth century.  
 
Edgar Allen Poe described two types of  
 
landscape gardening, the natural and the  
 
artificial in his short story, “The Landscape  
 
Garden” (1842). For William H. Ranlett  
 
(1849), landscape gardening was formerly  
 
practiced in the ancient or geometric style  
 
but succeeded in recent times by the modern  
 
or natural style.  
 
  
 
-- ''Therese O'Malley''
 
-- ''Therese O'Malley''

Revision as of 21:26, February 1, 2016

History

The phrase landscape gardening referred either specifically to the irregular mode of laying out gardens that originated in England in the early eighteenth century or, more generally, to the art of designing ornamental grounds. The phrase came into currency at the same time that the theoretical basis of the art of landscape and garden design was being examined and that the modern, or natural, style was on the rise. Therefore, the style and the art were often conflated so that it was not unusual for the phrase “the modern style of landscape gardening” to be used. This modern (or natural) style was often contrasted with the “geometric or ancient style of gardening,” which was characterized by some critics as the primitive style that predated the theorization of garden design as a fine art (see Ancient style, Geometric style, and Modern style).1 The practice of landscape gardening in this sense resulted in the landscape garden that, according to John J. Thomas (1848), was “composed of trees, lawns, and sheets of water.” In general, it was an approach intended for extensive grounds that incorporated a park into the scheme (see Park).

Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s 1798 statement that landscape gardening is what “the art of decorating Grounds is called in England” is somewhat ambiguous. It remains unclear as to whether he meant to define landscape gardening as the English style specifically or as the concept of designing ornamental grounds generally (see English style). The second, more inclusive sense of landscape gardening was formulated by practitioners like J. C. Loudon and A. J. Downing, who promoted it as a liberal art akin to painting or music. In An Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1826), Loudon explained that landscape gardening was a practice with a theoretical framework that had been developing since the early eighteenth century: “[T]he art of arranging the different parts which compose the external scenery of a country-residence, so as to produce the different beauties and conveniences of which that scene of domestic life is susceptible.” This included both the geometric and natural styles. Downing, in his Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1849), presented landscape gardening as a fine art, and as an ideal that resulted in “beautiful” and “picturesque” effects [Figs. 1 and 2].

Loudon and Downing argued that landscape gardening, whether in the geometric or modern style, was an art of imitation built on principles and not an art of facsimile, that is, the pure replication of natural scenery. Downing attributed the phrase “landscape gardening” to William Shenstone but added that it could be applied retroactively to the classical or ancient garden style. Even these theorists periodically slipped into the more exclusive usage at times, considering only the irregular modes, or rather, the modern style garden as landscape gardening (see Picturesque).

The stricter definitions of landscape gardening stipulated that this fine art depended solely on the “modern,” or natural style. George Watterston, for example, in 1844 wrote pointedly, “Landscape Gardening, is a modern art. Previous to the last century, it may be said scarcely to have existed.” John J. Thomas (1848) contrasted the larger landscape garden made up of trees, lawns, and sheets of water with the style of the flower garden laid out in geometrical lines. A specific meaning of landscape gardening as a particular style and not a more general discipline was clear in several citations where an author wrote “landscape or picturesque gardening.” That “landscape garden” as a garden type and “landscape gardening” as the professional practice that produced it were being used synonymously is clear.

Thomas Jefferson was intrigued both theoretically and experimentally by the landscape gardening movement. In this period Thomas Whately’s Observations on Modern Gardening (1770) was considered the most mature writing about landscape gardening, and it was with this book in hand that Jefferson toured English gardens with John Adams in 1786. Whately’s comments on color, meaning, association, and function in the landscape garden are reflected in Jefferson’s notes made during the latter’s visits to several of the most famous English gardens. A comparison of these notes to his instructions for Monticello gives evidence of the profound impact of that trip on his sense of landscape aesthetics. Jefferson was particularly interested in flowers and shrubs that brought a great deal of color and variety to his garden. Although he used the phrase “the art of gardening” or simply “gardening” when discussing the subject, Jefferson was clearly considering the recent version of the art form “in the perfection to which it [had] been lately brought in England.” Jefferson also referred to landscape gardening as “the style of the English garden.”2

The broader meanings of the phrase “landscape gardening” as a fine art continued to be used into the nineteenth century. Edgar Allen Poe described two types of landscape gardening, the natural and the artificial in his short story, “The Landscape Garden” (1842). For William H. Ranlett (1849), landscape gardening was formerly practiced in the ancient or geometric style but succeeded in recent times by the modern or natural style.

-- Therese O'Malley

Texts

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Citations

Images

Notes

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History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Landscape gardening," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Landscape_gardening&oldid=18040 (accessed January 17, 2022).

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