The Garden Guide

Book: Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, 1795
Chapter: Chapter 6: On on the ancient style of gardening; Of symmetry and uniformity

Love of order and symmetry

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There appears to be in the human mind a natural love of order and symmetry. Children who at first draw a house upon a slate, generally represent it with correspondent parts: it is so with the infancy of taste; those who, during the early part of life, have given little attention to objects of taste, are captivated with the regularity and symmetry of correspondent parts, without any knowledge of congruity, or a harmony of parts with the whole: this accounts for those numerous specimens of bad taste, which are too commonly observable in the neighbourhood of great towns, where we see Grecian villas spreading their little Gothic wings, and redbrick castles supported by Grecian pavilions; but though congruity may be banished, symmetry is never forgotten. If such be the love of symmetry in the human mind, it surely becomes a fair object of inquiry, how far it ought to be admitted or rejected in modern gardening. The following observation from Montesquieu, on Taste,* seems to set the matter in a fair light. *[See "An Essay on Taste." By A. Gerard, D.D. To which are prefixed three Dissertations on the same subject:-viz., by M. de Voltaire, M. d'Alembert, and M. de Montesquieu. Edin. 1764. 12mo.]