The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section II. Beauties and Principles of the Art of Landscape Gardening

Unity of conception and composition

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In all works of art which command universal admiration we discover an unity of conception and composition, an unity of taste and execution. To assemble in a single composition forms which are discordant, and portions dissimilar in plan, can only afford pleasure for a short time to tasteless minds, or those fond of trifling and puerile conceits. The production of an accordant whole is, on the contrary, capable of affording the most permanent enjoyment to educated minds, everywhere, and at all periods of time. In the arrangement of a large extent of surface, where a great many objects are necessarily presented to the eye at once, the principle of unity will suggest that there should be some grand or leading features to which the others should be merely subordinate. Thus, in grouping trees, there should be some large and striking masses to which the others appear to belong, however distant, instead of scattered groups, all of the same size. Even in arranging walks, a whole will more readily be recognised, if there are one or two of large size, with which the others appear connected as branches, than if all are equal in breadth, and present the same appearance to the eye in passing.