The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xx. Concerning Contrasts.

Contrasts between sun, rain and flowers

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THE gaudy sketch, which accompanies this fragment, was taken at the moment when a dark and heavy summer's shower was suddenly succeeded by a bright effulgence of light, in a conservatory from which the glass roof had been removed. Although the effect was such as neither this sketch nor any painting can express, it may yet be useful in elucidating the following remarks concerning contrasts. The first contrast here shewn, is, that in the shape of the trees, betwixt the straight, stiff, and upright forms to the right, and those drooping forms to the left; and, though we admire the stately and aspiring character of the hollyhock and larkspur among flowers, with the cedar and cypress among trees, yet, if we turn to the opposite side, we shall confess the justice of Mr. Burke's remark, that a certain degree of weakness is not incompatible with beauty; and that in vegetables, as in the human form, the apparent need of support increases the interest we feel in what is graceful or beautiful.