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

Knight's enthusiasm for picturesque effect

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The enthusiasm for picturesque effect, seems to have so completely bewildered the author of the poem already mentioned, that he not only mistakes the essential difference between the landscape painter and the landscape gardener; but appears even to forget that a dwelling-house is an object of comfort and convenience, for the purposes of habitation; and not merely the frame to a landscape, or the foreground of a rural picture. The want of duly considering the affinity between painting and gardening, is the source of those errors and false principles, which I find too frequently prevailing in the admirers of, or connoisseurs in, painting: and I do not hesitate to acknowledge, that I once supposed the two arts to be more intimately connected, than my practice and experience have since confirmed. I am not less an admirer of those scenes which painting represents; but I have discovered that utility must often take the lead of beauty, and convenience be preferred to picturesque effect, in the neighbourhood of man's habitation. From Mr. Knight's poem, which is not without ingenious observations, and beautiful images, I will enrich my work with the following quotations:- "The quarry long neglected, and o'ergrown With thorns, that hang o'er mould'ring beds of stone, May oft the place of nat'ral rocks supply, And frame the verdant picture to the eye; Or, closing round the solitary seat, Charm with the simple scene of calm retreat." "Bless'd is the man, in whose sequester'd glade Some ancient abbey's walls diffuse their shade; With mould'ring windows pierc'd, and turrets crown'd, And pinnacles with clinging ivy bound. Bless'd, too, is he, who, 'midst his tufted trees, Some ruin'd castle's lofty towers sees, Imbosom'd high upon the mountain's brow, Or nodding o'er the stream that glides below. Nor yet unenvied, to whose humbler lot Falls the retired, antiquated cot:- Its roof with weeds and mosses cover'd o'er, And honeysuckles climbing round the door; While mantling vines along its walls are spread, And clust'ring ivy decks the chimney's head."