The Garden Guide

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

Landscape-gardeners in the modern style

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1468. Landscape-gardeners in the modern style should not, however, confine themselves to the study of pictures. 'However highly I may think of the art of painting,' observes Price, 'nothing can be farther from my intention, than to recommend the study of pictures in preference to that of nature, much less to the exclusion of it. Whoever studies art alone will have a narrow pedantic manner of considering all objects, and of referring them solely to the minute and particular purposes of that art to which his attention has been particularly directed. The use of studying pictures is not merely to make us acquainted with the combinations and effects that are contained in them, but to guide us, by means of these general heads of composition, in our search of the numberless and untouched varieties and beauties of nature; for as he who studies art only will have a confined taste, so he who looks at nature only will have a vague and unsettled one.' The landscape-gardener has also the charm of reality in his works, which the landscape painter wants; and thus the power of calling forth pleasurable sensations by the association of ideas is possessed by the landscape-gardener to a much greater extent than by the landscape-painter; as the reality of landscape scenery affects the mind much more than any powers of colours and canvass, even though their combinations are influenced by a master mind. When we look at a picture, however beautiful it may be, we know that it is not real, and we feel half ashamed of the emotions which it may produce in our minds, because we know they are all founded on illusion; but if the skill of the landscape-gardener permits us to catch a partial view of even a common English landscape, the imagination is instantly set to work to heighten the scene of which a glimpse has been obtained, and the association of ideas instantly brings a crowd of pleasing sensations into the mind.