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

Thomas Hearne's landscape sketches

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Thus I have been led to consider the theory* of this ingenious author; or rather, to analyze and examine what he deems "Harmless drugs, roll'd in a gilded pill," lest the subtle poison they contain should not only influence the art of gardening, but infuse itself into the other polite arts. In Sculpture, we ought to admire the graces of the Venus de Medicis, as well as the majestic Apollo, the brawny Hercules, or the agonizing Laocoon. In Architecture, there is not less beauty in the Grecian columns, than in the Gothic spires, pinnacles and turrets. In Music, it is not only the bravura, the march, or allegro furioso, that ought to be permitted; we must sometimes be charmed by the soft plaintive movement of the Siciliano, or the tender graces of an amoroso. In like manner, Gardening must include the two opposite characters of native wildness, and artificial comfort, each adapted to the genius and character of the place; yet, ever mindful, that, near the residence of man, convenience, and not picturesque effect, must have the preference, wherever they are placed in competition with each other. *[In Mr. Knight's work, there are two etchings from the masterly pencil of Mr. Thomas Hearne, which, though intended as examples of good and bad taste, serve rather to exemplify bad taste in the two extremes of artificial neatness and wild neglect. I can hardly suppose any humble follower of Brown, or any admirer of the "bare and bald," to shave, and smooth, and serpentine a scene like this caricature of modern improvement; nor would any architect of common taste suggest such a house, instead of the venerable pile in the other drawing. At the same time, there is a concomitant absurdity in the other view, unless we are to consider it as the forsaken mansion of a noble family gone to decay: for if it be allowable to approach the house by any road, and if that road must cross the river, there are architects in this country, who would suggest designs for a bridge in unison with the situation, without either copying fantastic Chinese models, or the no less fantastic wooden bridge here introduced; which, though perfectly picturesque in its form, and applicable to the steep banks of the Teme, yet, in this flat situation, looks like the miserable expedient of poverty, or a ridiculous affectation of rural simplicity.]