The Garden Guide

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

Landscape gardening during the Napoleonic Wars

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During the last ten years, the art of landscape gardening, in common with all other arts which depend on peace and patronage, has felt the influence of war, and war taxes, which operate both on the means and the inclination to cultivate the arts of peace; these have languished under the impoverishment of the country, while the sudden acquirement of riches, by individuals, has diverted wealth into new channels; men are solicitous to increase property rather than to enjoy it; they endeavour to improve the value, rather than the beauty, of their newly purchased estates. The country gentleman, in the last century, took more delight in the sports of the field, than in the profits of the farm; his pleasure was, to enjoy in peace the venerable home of his ancestors; but the necessity of living in camps, and the habit of living in lodgings, or watering-places, has, of late, totally changed his character and pursuits; and, at the same time, perhaps, tended to alienate half the ancient landed property of the country. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that the art of landscape gardening should have slowly and gradually declined. Whether the influence of returning peace may revive its energies, or whether it is hereafter to be classed among the "artes perdit�" [the lost arts], the Author hopes its memory may be preserved a little longer in the following pages.