The Garden Guide

Book: Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1803
Chapter: Chapter VI. Of Fences

Hogarth, Brown and the serpentine line of beauty

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When Mr. Brown marked the outline of a great wood sweeping across hill and valley, he might indulge his partiality for a serpentine or graceful curve, which had been then newly introduced by Hogarth's idea respecting the line of beauty: but it may be observed, that a perfectly straight line, drawn across a valley diagonally, appears to the eye the same as this line of fancied beauty, and therefore, in many cases, the line should be straight. I have already hinted in this Chapter, that the fence of a wood or plantation should be considered as merely temporary, that is, till the thorns planted among the trees can supersede its use. Wherefore, it is of little consequence in what manner a hurdle, or rough posts and rails, without any hedge or ditch, may be placed: a straight line is ever the shortest, and I have often preferred it, especially as I know that a few trees or bushes at each end of such a line will prevent the eye from looking along its course.