The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xxxvi. Harestreet. Of Quantity And Appropriation.

Repton's Cottage in Harestreet 1

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ALTHOUGH, during along and active life, my efforts have contributed to the happiness of some hundred individuals, and the employment of some thousands; I trust, that not a single instance can be adduced in which useless expenditure was advised, for unreasonable gratification of vanity; but wealth is never so well employed, as in improvements that display the genius of art, and call into active employment the labourer and artificer. To demonstrate the little consequence of quantity or value, when speaking of the beauty of scenery, many places have been mentioned, which may, perhaps, appear too inconsiderable in a work that treats of dukedoms and royal domains: but I wish to evince, that, in many cases, great effect may be produced by a very contracted quantity of land, and, not unfrequently, that almost everything depends on the foreground. Thus, in the villas on the margin of the lake of Geneva (like that of Gibbon), nothing more is necessary than a terrace, or a few shrubs and flowers, to form a frame to the picture: thus, also, it frequently happens, that, by the enclosure of a common, or the grant of a small piece of land from a forest, the most essential benefit may be derived, although the quantity of land acquired be very trifling; and I have often observed, that the cupidity natural on such occasions, generally leads to the obtaining more land than can be rendered useful; since it is either too small to be fed, or too large to be kept under the scythe and roller.