The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment XxvIII. Containing Extracts From The Report On Woburn Abbey.

Red Book for the Duke of Bedford

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TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BEDFORD. MY LORD DUKE, I have the honour to lay before your Grace the following remarks, concerning the further improvement of the grounds about Woburn Abbey. If, in composing this volume, I have had some difficulties, they have arisen less from the nature of the subject, than from my delicacy, as a professional man, making me unwilling to mention, with disapprobation, the works of another. I have, however, endeavoured to do my duty, in conformity to your Grace's instructions, so strongly and so clearly expressed, that I shall repeat the directions by which I have been guided in my consideration of the subject, and which, I hope, will justify my freedom in discussing it. "Much has been done here, but much remains to be done, and something, I think, to undo. I am not partial to destroying works recently executed; but sometimes cases will occur where an alternative is scarcely left. My wish is, that you should look over everything about the grounds here attentively, and then freely give me your opinion, as to what alterations or improvements suggest themselves to your judgment, leaving the execution of them to my own discretion or leisure." Such instruction will best plead my excuse for the freedom with which I deliver my sentiments; and if, in many instances, I must condemn what Mr. Holland has done at Woburn, as a landscape gardener, yet, as an architect, the magnificent library, in which this volume aspires to hold a place, will be a lasting monument of his genius and good taste.