The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

Modern style of garden design in England

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574. The continental authors in general assert that we borrowed the modern style from the Chinese; or, with Gabriel Thouin and Malacarne, deny us the merit of being the first either to borrow or invent it, by presenting claims of originality for their respective countries. Gabriel Thouin asserts (Plans Raisonnes, preface, &c.) that the first example was given by Dufresnoy (216.), a Parisian architect, in the Faubourg Saint Antoine, in the beginning of the eighteenth century. The claims of Malacarne of Padua, in behalf of Charles I. duke of Savoy, about the end of the sixteenth century, have been already referred to. In as far as literature is concerned, we think that Tasso's claim to priority is indisputable. (See Dissertazione su i Giardini Inglese, by Hippolyto Pindemonte, Verona, 1817; or a translation of part of it by us, in the New Monthly Magazine, Feb. 1820.) Deleuze, the historian of botany and ornamental plants (Annales du Musee, tom. viii. 1806), endeavours, at some length, to prove that the new style of gardening arose from the necessity of finding room for the great number of ornamental shrubs and trees introduced from America, during the first half of the eighteenth century. B£ttinger, in his Racemazionem zur Gartenkunst der Allen, &c. carries us back to the descriptions of the grotto of Calypso by Homer, the vale of Tempo by ᆭlian, and of Vaucluse by Petrarch. The anonymous author of the Description of the Gardens of Worlitz (together with the editor of Walpoliana) dates the origin of English gardening from the artificial deserts created by Nero, as described by Tacitus (see ᄎ 49.).