The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Principles of Landscape Gardening

Accidental association as a source of relative beauties

Previous - Next

1472. Accidental associations form the last class of relative beauties, and are 'such associations as, instead of being common to all mankind, are peculiar to the individual. They take their rise from education, from peculiar habits of thought, from situation, and from profession; and the beauty they produce is felt only by those whom similar causes have led to the formation of similar associations.' (Stewart's Essays.) Among these may be reckoned classical and other historical associations. The influence of the former in architecture is well known; the latter often add charms to a spot, in no respect remarkable to those who are unacquainted with its history. 'Classical associations,' Stewart observes, 'have added immensely to our natural resources, but, at the same time, warped our tastes in various instances;' acquiring, as Alison adds, 'a superiority over the more permanent principles of beauty, and determining for a time the taste of nations.' National associations are also frequently at variance with such as are universal, and have, perhaps, greater influence than any other associations whatever. (Stewart's Essays.) Personal associations are such as arise from the accidental style of natural beauties to which we have been accustomed in our youth. Many particulars come under this head, which it would be tedious to enumerate; but one mode in which vanity and selfish feeling display themselves deserves particular notice, as intimately connected with the business of the landscape-gardener. It is that interest which the attachment to property creates in men's minds, 'rendering them alive to every trifling recommendation belonging to what is their own, while it blinds them to the most prominent beauties in the property of their neighbours.' (Stewart's Essays, p. 468.)