The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment X. On Gothic Outline.

Stanage Park character

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CHARACTER. The antiquity, the extent, and the beauty of this park, together with the command of surrounding property, would justify very great expenditure in preserving the character of the place: but it is the duty of the professor to confine his plans within the limits prescribed by the person who consults him; and being, in the present instance, restricted to one-tenth of that expenditure which a luxuriant fancy might suggest, I shall not indulge myself in describing what might be done; but rather propose such plans as, I trust, may be accomplished within the bounds of good taste, restrained by prudence. I must, therefore, begin, by inquiring what character of house is best adapted to the scenery, since it cannot be a palace. It ought not to be a villa; it ought not to be a cottage; and, for a shooting-box for a single gentleman, the present rooms in the old house are sufficient; but it must be the residence of a family; and, as it is at some distance from society, we must not only provide for the accommodation of its own family, in its various branches, but for the entertainment of other families in the neighbourhood, and for the reception of friends and visitors, who may come from the capital, or other distant parts. All this cannot be expected in a very small mansion. The most judicious mode of combating the difficulty which prudence opposes to magnificence, will be, to follow the example set at Downton, where the inside was first considered, and the outside afterwards made to conform to that, under the idea of a picturesque outline; but, as the character of a castle must depend on its dimensions, I dare not recommend that character, lest it be compared with the massive fragments of the ruins of Ludlow.