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

Rudding Hall, Yorkshire

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RUDDING HALL. Having frequently been asked, whether my drawings were made upon such a scale, as not to deceive, I shall take this opportunity of answering that question, by discussing its possibility. That a rural scene in reality, and a rural scene upon Canvas, are not precisely one and the same thing, Dr. Burgh, in his Commentary on Mason, says, is a self-evident proposition: and Mr. Gilpin has very ingeniously shewn, that a picture can hardly be an exact imitation of nature, without producing disgust as a picture; but the question, whether landscape is reducible to a scale, can only proceed from a total inexperience of the art of painting. A scale can only be applied to a diagram, representing parts on the same plane, whether horizontal, as in a map, or perpendicular, as in the elevation of a building; but even in these cases the scale is erroneous, if the surface of the ground plot be uneven; or if the elevation presents parts in perspective: how then shall any scale be applied to a landscape which presents parts innumerable, and those at various distances from the eye? my sketches, therefore, do not attempt to describe the minutiae of a scene, but the general effects; and all the accuracy of portraiture to which I pretend, is, never to insert objects that do not exist, although I cannot represent all that do. The large single trees shewn in the sketch [in the Red Book of Rudding Hall], are all nearly in the situations of their prototypes; but it may be possible to leave in reality more small trees and bushes than I have shewn on paper; because such actual groups will cause no confusion to the eye on the spot, although it would be impossible to separate them in the picture, even if it were finished with the laboured accuracy of Paul Bril, or Velvet Breugel. [Rudding Hall, Yorkshire, belonged to Lord Loughborough and was near Harrogate]