The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Preface

Fragments from 400 manuscripts

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The following fragments having been selected from more than four hundred different reports in MS., an occasional repetition of the same remark will unavoidably, though not frequently, occur; and for this, it is hoped that the variety and beauty of the subjects may compensate, by giving new and more striking examples and elucidations. The art of landscape gardening (which more peculiarly belongs to this country) is the only art which every one professes to understand, and even to practise, without having studied its rudiments. No man supposes he can paint a landscape, or play on an instrument, without some knowledge of painting and music; but every one thinks himself competent to lay out grounds, and sometimes to plan a house for himself, or to criticise on what others propose, without having bestowed a thought on the first principles of landscape gardening or architecture. That these two sister arts are, and must be, inseparable, is obvious from the following consideration. The most beautiful scenes in nature may surprise at first sight, or delight for a time, but they cannot long be interesting, unless made habitable; therefore, the whole art of landscape gardening may properly be defined, the pleasing combination of art and nature adapted to the use of man.