Wednesday, January 20, 2010

le jardin anglais

'They gradually ascended for half a mile, and the found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound.'
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Jane Austen

British landscape design is rich in history and legacy. The diliberate arrangement of nature served a course of various functions. Walls, hedges, and ha-has enclosed areas to allow spaces to become orchards, picturesque, and gardens for pleasure and contemplation so as to express the relationship between humankind and nature. The endeavour of the English landscape garden is a well-textured array of debates in taste and function. Manifestos of intelligence and imagination, garden literature deserves its own regard: "As is the Gardener, so is the Garden"-Thomas Fuller (1732).

Of course I have my favourites, Horace Walpole (1717-97), Capability Brown (1716-83), and Humphry Repton (1752-1818). Published in 1780, Walpole's 'History of the Modern Taste in Gardening' stressed literary inspiration. Brown's radical emphasis was on the form of the landscape itself, eliminating the identity of a specific garden for place of a sublime poetic composition. Famous for his book-bound surveys, Repton was a master of the English formal garden. His "Red Books" left no detail without consideration. He divided up the plan into sections that included Character, the Approach, the House, the View From the House, etc. to create maximum effect for the eminence of his clients. Repton included fantastic drawings of great detail before and after.

The secrets of success in landscape design are an inspiration to my approach to a project. I ask myself about the function and context of the space, dissecting it into parts according to common vantage points and oppurtunity to include theme or themes of import. I can only hope that the results are as timeless and pleasant... that each thought becomes a 'loggie delle muse', the Elysian Groves, or a secluded place for young lovers.

further reading:

The Genius of Place (1975)
Edited by Hunt & Willis

No comments:

Post a Comment