The Garden Guide

Book: An inquiry into the changes of taste in landscape gardening, 1806
Chapter: Part III. Literary And Miscellaneous Remarks.

Uncontrollable fashion

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Fashion is not to be controlled.-If taste in the fine arts be under the influence of fashion, it may, perhaps, be supposed that fashion may be influenced by the professors of the fine arts; but this has seldom been the case, except in some very extraordinary discovery of novelty. Fashion is neither to be directly opposed nor imperiously guided, either by the theory of authors, or the practice of professors. I have occasionally ventured to deliver my opinion freely in theory, but in my practice I have often feared to give offence, by opposing the taste of others, since it is equally dangerous to doubt a man's taste as his understanding; especially as those who possess least of either are generally the most jealous of the little they possess. In addition to these difficulties, I have had to contend with the opposition of stewards, the presumption or ignorance of gardeners, and the jealousy of architects and builders; yet my practice has been supported by the first characters in the kingdom; but my theory has been confounded with that of Brown and his followers, although by my writings I thought the difference had been fully explained.