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

Holwood, Kent

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HOLWOOD. By LANDSCAPE, I mean a view capable of being represented in painting. It consists of two, three, or more, well marked distances, each separated from the other by an unseen space, which the imagination delights to fill up with fancied beauties, that may not perhaps exist in reality. "Of Nature's various scenes, the painter culls That for his favourite theme, where the fair whole Is broken into ample parts, and bold; Where, to the eye, three well mark'd distances Spread their peculiar colouring."--- MASON. Here Mr. Mason supposes an affinity between painting and gardening, which will be found, on a more minute examination, not strictly to exist. The landscape painter considers all these three distances as objects equally within the power of his art; but his composition must have a foreground; and though it may only consist of a single tree, a rail, or a piece of broken road, it is absolutely necessary to the painter's landscape. The subjects of the landscape gardener are very different; though his scenery requires, also, to be broken into distinct parts or distances, because the eye is never long delighted, unless the imagination has some share in its pleasure: an intricacy and entanglement of parts heightens the satisfaction. The landscape gardener may also class his distances under three distinct characters, but very different from those of the painter. The first includes that part of the scene which it is in his power to improve; the second, that which it is not In his power to prevent being injured; and the third, that which it is not in the power of himself, or any other, either to injure or improve: of this last kind, is the distant line of the horizon in the views from Holwood. The part which the painter calls his middle distance, is often that which the landscape gardener finds under the control of others; and the foreground of the painter can seldom be introduced into the composition of the gardener's landscape, from the whole front of a house, because the best landscapes of Claude will be found to owe their beauty to that kind of foreground, which could only be applied to one particular window of a house, and would exclude all view from that adjoining. [Holwood, Kent, belonged to William Pitt the Younger]