The Garden Guide

Book: Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, 1795
Chapter: Chapter 7: Concerning approaches, with some remarks on the affinity betwixt painting and gardening

Cobham Hall, Kent

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COBHAM HALL. There seems to be as much absurdity in carrying an approach round, to include those objects which do not naturally fall within its reach, as there was formerly in cutting through a hill, to obtain a straight line pointing to the hall door, A line of red gravel across a lawn, is apt to offend, by cutting it into parts, and destroying the unity of verdure, so pleasing to the eye: but I have, in some places seen the aversion of showing a road carried to such a length, that a gap has been dug in the lawn, by way of road; and, in order to hide it, the approach to a palace must be made along a ditch. In other places, I have seen what is called a grass approach, which is a broad, hard road, thinly covered with bad verdure, or even moss, to hide it from the sight; and thus, in a dusky evening, after wandering about the park in search of a road, we suddenly find ourselves upon grass, at the door of the mansion, without any appearance of mortals ever having before approached its solitary entrance. Thus do improvers seem to have mistaken the most obvious meaning of an approach, which is simply this- A ROAD TO THE HOUSE. If that road be greatly circuitous, no one will use it when a much nearer is discovered: but if there be two roads of nearly the same length, and one be more beautiful than the other, the man of taste will certainly prefer it; while, perhaps, the clown, insensible to every object around him, will indifferently use either. [Cobham Hall, Kent belonged to Lord Darnley and became a school in the twentieth century. - TT]