The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xxvi. Extract From A Recent Report Of A Place Near The Capital.

The ancient geometric style of garden design

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THE ANCIENT STYLE. This consisted in straight lines and geometric figures, and had more reference to art than to nature. It was distinguished by avenues, or even single straight rows of trees, extended to a great distance, and far beyond the actual limits of the place. The surface of the ground was cut into slopes, called amphitheatres, or raised up into conic shapes, called mounts; and even the water was obliged to assume some geometrical outline. So far from consulting, or following nature, the chief object of art was to display its triumph over nature. All this had its admirers, and became, at length, so much the fashion, that every garden in the kingdom, whether great or small, was condemned to submit to the same strict rules, till they were brought into ridicule by the admirers of more natural landscape; as by the satirical allusions of Pope, in this couplet, so often quoted:- "Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother, And half the platform just reflects the other."