The Garden Guide

Book: Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, 1795
Chapter: Chapter 5: Concerning park scenery

Castle Hill Middlesex

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CASTLE HILL. A scene, however beautiful in itself, will soon lose its interest unless it is enlivened by moving objects. This may be effected by sunk fences; and, from the shape of the ground, there is another material use in having cattle to feed the lawn before the windows. The eye forms a very inaccurate judgment of extent, unless there be some standard by which it can be measured; bushes and trees are of such various sizes, that it is impossible to use them as a measure of distance; but the size of a horse, a sheep, or a cow, varies so little, that we immediately judge of their distance from their apparent diminution, according to the distance at which they are placed; and as they occasionally change their situation, they break that surface over which the eye passes, without observing it, to the first object it meets to rest upon. This doctrine will, I hope, be explained by a reference to plate No. XIII. [Our figs. 29 and 30.] It has been objected to the slides with which I elucidate my proposed alterations, that I generally introduce, in the improved view, boats on the water, and cattle on the lawns. To this I answer, that both are real objects of improvement, and give animation to the scene; indeed it cannot be too often inculcated, that a large lake without boats, is a dreary waste of water, and a large lawn without cattle, is one of the melancholy appendages of solitary grandeur observable in the pleasure-grounds of the past century.