The Garden Landscape Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

German garden design and designers

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1. German Gardening, as an Art of Design and Taste 302. The French style of landscape-gardening has prevailed in Germany from the earliest period of history or tradition. 'The German architects,' observes Hirschfeld, in 1777, 'in making themselves masters of the gardens, as well as of the houses, tended to spread and perpetuate the prejudice. A singular and deplorable Gallomania pervaded Germany, from the prince to the peasant, which neither irony, patriotism, nor productions which show the force of our natural genius, could destroy. 'Ainsi font les Francais; voila ce que j'ai vu en France:' these words were sufficient to reduce the German to a mere copyist; and, in consequence, we had French gardens as we had Parisian fashions. Our nobles gave the first example of imitation, and executed on their estates miniatures of Versailles, Marly, and Trianon. But now (1777),' he adds, 'the dawn of judgment and good taste begins to break in our country, and the accounts of the happy changes made in England in the gardens there, have prepared the way for the same revolution in Germany. However, we cannot complain of the suddenness of that revolution, and that the imitation of the English taste spreads too rapidly; it appears, on the contrary, that we begin to think for ourselves; and reflection proceeds much slower than mere imitation. We may meet, perhaps, here and there, with several copies of the British manner, and perhaps even of the Chinese style; but we expect to see the Germans inventing and combining for themselves, and producing gardens stamped with the impression of national genius. ' (Theorie des Jardins, tom. i. p. 83.)