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follow the natural lines of the valley, in widening a brook at Ryskins, this effect of his good taste was attributed to his poverty, or to his economy, and Lord Stafford asked him to own fairly how little more it would have cost to make it straight.
The parterre and its accompaniments were soon swept away, and the regular grass slopes moulded into the undulating forms of beauty. But as mankind always run from one extreme to the other, nature's supposed abhorrence of a straight line occasioned the indiscriminate destruction of magnificent avenues and rows of trees, the growth of ages, and introduced the fashion of zig-zag, crincum-crankum walks, afterwards exploded in England by Brown, the successor of Kent; but of which a specimen still remains in the Prince of Orange's garden at the Hague.
Brown duly appreciated and extended the system of his predecessor; but having left behind him neither drawings nor literary productions, he has been unjustly confounded with the tasteless herd of working gardeners who succeeded. His fame is however established by his works, and his memory has been ably vindicated by Mr. Repton.
We never greatly admired Mason's English Garden. The subject is ill chosen, and his method of treating it injudicious. Precepts in blank verse are soon forgotten, and a long didactic poem will not be often read. The lovers of poetry will in vain look for the beautiful episodes that enliven Virgil's Georgics, and those who require practical instructions in gardening will more naturally seek it in plain prose.
Gardening, like all the other arts, advances towards perfection step by step: We have traced its progress from the wishes and the anticipations of poets, to the theoretical speculations of philosophers, and from thence to the unrecorded practice of artists. We shall now consider the works of a professor, who has united practice to theory, and experience to speculation, whose principles are recorded in his literary publications, and elucidated by his beautiful drawings.
Mr. Repton's former volumes On the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening' were systematically arranged, to establish fixed principles in the art. His province includes every object that relates to the comfort, magnificence, and picturesque effect of a gentleman's residence, for the landscape gardener has to consider, 1. The exterior effect and interior arrangement of the house. 2. The park, the pleasure-grounds and gardens. 3. The position of the home-farm. 4. The distant scenery. 5. The village, with its cottages, schools, poor-house, and all that relates to the eni ployment and the comfort of its inhabitants. And let no one hastily conclude that these are objects of little importance, for by occupations such as these, the English country gentleman becomes the protector of his dependants, and the friend of his neighbours.
Instead of a collection of unconnected Fragments, we expected from Mr. Repton's increased experience another volume of systematically arranged • Obserrations. But he found his difficulties, apparently, increase with the number of his subjects, for the frag. ments have been selected from more than four hundred different Manuscript Reports, and although each was treated with order and method in a separate state, yet, in combining them, the same order and method could not easily be preserved.?
The volume before us contains many beautiful architectural desig is, and some judicious remarks on the different aspects and interior arrangement of houses. The character of their exterior, Mr. Repton observes, should depend upon that of the surrounding country. Thus,
• In the quiet, calm and beautiful scenery of a tame country, the elegant forms of Grecian art are surely more grateful than a ruder and se. verer style. But there are wild and romantic situations, whose rocks and dashing mountain streams, or deep umbrageous dells, woulu seem to harmonize with the proud Baronial Tower or Mitred Abbey, embosomed high in tutted trees, as vending to associate the character of the building with that of its wative accompaniment.
• The outline of a building is never so well scen, as when in shadow and opposed to a brilliant sky, or when it is reflected on the surface of a pool. There the great difference between the Grecian and Gothic character is more peculiarly striking.'-p. 3.
This principle is strongly elucidated by two plates, to which we must refer the reader, as without thern the subject can hardly be rendered intelligible. Among the local advaniages of Sherring. ham Bower, it is stated that
• There is no manufactory near. This, for the comfort of habitation, is of more importance than is generally supposed. Manufacturers are a different class of mankind from busbandiell, fishermen, or even miners. Not to speak of the difference in their religious and nioral characters, the latter, from being constantly occupied in employments which require bodily exertion, and their relaxations being shared with their families and friends, become cheerful and contented. But the former lead a sedentary life, always working at home, and seeking relaxation at their clubs, the birth.place and cradle of equality, discontent and dissatisfaction.'-p. 207.
In tracing the progress of the useful or ornamental arts, it is always a curious subject of inquiry, to consider, from time 10 time, what were the desiderata of former writers, and how far they have been supplied by succeeding artists. We therefore give the following passage from Walpole’s History of the Modern
Taste in Gardening, which we shall then consider with reference to Mr. Repton's practice.
• The total banishment of all particular neatness immediately about a house, which is frequently left gazing by itself in the middle of a park, is a defect.
• Sheltered, and even close walks, in so very uncertain a climate as our's, are comforts ill exchanged for the few pictoresque days that we enjoy, and whenever a family can purloin a warm, and even something of an old-fashioned garden, from the landscape designed for thein hy the undertaker in fashion, without interfering with the picture, they will find satisfaction on those days that do not invite strangers to come and see their improvements.'
Mr. Brown and his followers extended the appearance of a park to tiie very windows of the house, but Mr. Repton observes,
• The scenery of nature, calleil landscape, and that of a garden, are as different as their uses; one is to please the eye, the other is for the comfort and occupation of man; one is wild, and inay be adapted to animals in the wilüest state of nature, the other is appropriated to man in the highest state of civilization and refinement.'--p. ii.
Thus at Cobham Hall, the character of the place has been entirely changed, and instead of a huge pile standing naked on a vast grazing ground,' this venerable mansion is now surrounded by gardens and pleasure-grounds, its walls are enriched with roses and jessammes, while the views of the park are improved by the rich foreground, over which ihey are seen from the several apartments.'
Even the kitchen-garden, as an object of comfort, should be . placed near the house, for • there are many days in winter, when a warm, dry, but secluded walk, under the shelter of an east or north wall, would be perferred to the Diest beautiful but exposed landscape ; and in the Spring, when
Reviving nature seems again to breathe,
As loosened from the cold embrace of death," on the south border of a walled garden, some early flowers and vegetables may cheer the sight, although every plant is elsewhere pinched with the north-east winds, peculiar to our climate in the months of March and April, when
“ Winter, still lingering on the verge of Spring,
Retires reluctant, and from time to time
Fair Flora sickens."'. There are many situations in which a visible and decided fence between the park and the pleasure ground, is an object of beauty. An open trellis is most garden-like. But if the house be architec. turally Grecian, a terrace terminated by an open balustrade, may be most appropriate. Mr. Repton observe that where balus. trades form the parapet of a bridge, 'their dimensions ought to
relate to those of man, rather than to that of the building. This is not always sufficiently attended to: thus, on Westminster-Bridge,
the large lofty balustrade is so managed, that the swelling of each beavy baluster exacily ranges with the eye of a foot passenger ; and from a carriage, the top of the balustrade almost entirely obstructs the view of the river. Thus one of the finest rivers in Europe is bid for the sake of preserving some imaginary proportion in architecture, relating to its form or eptablature, but not applicable to its uses, as a defence for safety, without impeding the view. If it be urged, that we should judge of it from the water, we should consider that this bridge is seen by an hundred persons from the land, to one from the water. By the aid of an open upright iron fence, the most interesting view of the river might be obtained with equal safety to the spectator.'
In the infancy of modern gardening, a false taste was introduced by Shenstone, in his Ferme Ornée, at the Leasowes, where, instead of surrounding his house with such a quantity of ornamental lawn or park only, as might be consistent with the size of the mansion, or the extent of the property, his taste, rather than his ambition, led him to ornament the whole of his estate ;' and in the vain attempt to combine the profit of a farm with the scenery of a park, . he lived under the continual mortification of disappointed hope, and with a mind exquisitely sensible, he felt equally the sneer of the great man at the magnificence of his attempt, and the ridicule of the farmer at the misapplication of his paternal acres.'
Another fashion attempted to be introduced was that of picturesque gardening, or the art of laying out grounds according to the principles of painting; and perhaps Mr. Repton's opinion upon this subject cannot be better illustrated than by an extract fron an unpublished letter of the late Mr. Windham, one of the few relics, alas, of his acute and comprehensive mind.
• The writers of this school show evidently that they do not trace with any success the causes of their pleasure. Does the pleasure that we receive from the view of parks and gardens result from their affording in their several parts subjects that would appear to advantage in a
• In the first place, what is most beautiful in nature, is not always capable of being represented most advantageously by painting. The instance of an extensive prospect, the most affecting sight that the eye can bring before us, it quite conclusive. I do not know any thing that Joes, and naturally should so strongly affect the mind, as the sudden transition from such a portion of space as we commonly bave in our minds, to such a view of the habitable globe as may be exhibited in the case of some extensive prospects. Many things too, as you illustrate well in the instance of deer, are not capable of representation in a
picture at all; and of this sort must every thing be that depends on motion and succession.
• But in the next place, the beauties of nature itself which painting can exhibit, are many, and most of them probably of a sort which have nothing to do with the purposes of habitation, and are even wholly inconsistent with them. A scene of a cavern, with banditti sitting by it, is the favourite subject of Salvator Rosa. But are we therefore to live in caves ? or encourage the neighbourhood of banditti ? Gainsborough's country girl is a more picturesque object than a child neatly dressed in a white frock; but is that a reason why our children are to go in
· Tbe whole doctrine is so absurd, that when set forth in its true shape, no one will be hardy enough to stand by it; and accordingly, they never do set it forth, nor exhibit it in any distinct shape at all; but only take a general credit for their attachment to principles which every body is attached to as well as they, and where the only question is of the application, which tbey afford you no means of making. They are lovers of picturesque beauty, so is every body else: but is it contended, that in laying out a place, whatever is most picturesque is most conformable to true taste? If they say so, as they seem to do in many passages, they must be led to consequences which they can never venture to avow. If they do not say so, the whole is a question of how much, or how little, which without the instances before you can never be decided ; and all that they do is, to lay down a system as depending on one principle, which they themselves are obliged to confess afterwards depends upon many. They either say what is false, or what turns out upon examination to be nothing at all..
• Places are not to be laid out with a view to their appearance in a picture, but to their use, and the enjoyment of them in real lite: and their conformity to those purposes, is that which constitutes their true beauty. With this view, gravel walks, and neat inown lawns, and in some situations straight alleys, fountains, terraces, and, for aught I know, parterres and cut hedges, are in perfect good taste, and infinitely more conformable to the principles which form the basis of our pleasure in these instances, than the docks and thistles, and litter and disorder, that may make a much better figure in a picture.'
There are certainly many sources of pleasure in landscape gardening, wholly unconnected with picturesque effect. Mr. Repton has enumerated congruity, utility, order, symmetry, and, among others, 'appropriation, or that command over the landscape visible from the windows, which denotes it to be private property belonging to the place.
A view into a square, or into the parks, may be cheerful and beautiful, but it wants appropriation ; it wants that charm which only belongs to ownership; the exclusive right of enjoyment, with the power of refusing that others should share our pleasure ; and however painful the reflection, this propensity is part of human nature. It is so prevalent, that in my various intercourse with proprietors of land, I have rarely met with those who agreed with me in preferring the sight of mankind