Congratulations to Tim Mowl for providing the best garden history content on Youtube (one can’t be quite sure: The FAQ says ’48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day’). The lecture was given at Claremont Landscape Garden and was about the history of this garden and William Kent. Though Tim Mowl obviously knows more about the period than me, I offer the following comments:
- Mowl mentions Renaissance Italy and Ancient Rome, in relation to the development of England’s eighteenth century gardens, but I wish he had said more about them.
- In my view, Mowl over-emphasises the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘geometry’ in explaining the ‘great revolution in taste’. Since most English garden historians do this, one can hardly complain. Conceptually ‘Nature’, belongs more to the history of philosophy than the history of art.
- I would have like to have heard more about the transition from Baroque to Neoclassical, in art, literature and gardens. Conceptually, the links between these topics are closer than then link between gardens and philosophy. There is however no doubt about the importance of ‘Nature’ as a philosophical concept (rather than as a geometrical concept).
- I agree about the eclectic character of the first (Augustan) phase of the English landscape garden, but see it as a consequence rather than a cause of the revolution in taste. The cause was a desire to see, know, understand, learn from and represent the classical world. ‘Eclectic’ is almost a term of abuse and ‘Historicist’ may be a more useful term.