The Garden Guide

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

The visible hand of man in natural style gardens

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1480. The hand of man should be as visible in gardens laid out in the natural style as in the most formal geometric gardens, because both are equally intended to show that they are works of art, and to display the taste and wealth of their possessor. No gentleman who has his grounds laid out in the natural style, would feel flattered by having them mistaken for a portion of the uncultivated country untouched by the hand of man, though he would feel flattered by being told what a beautiful imitation of nature his grounds presented. When, therefore, nature is closely imitated in its general effects by the landscape-gardener, exotic trees should be introduced instead of those common to the surrounding country, the artist in this manner reducing to practice the axiom laid down by Quatremere de Quincy, that to imitate in the fine arts is to produce the resemblance of a thing, but in some other thing which becomes the image of it. It is this production of an image or ideal copy which distinguishes the artist from the mechanic, who can only produce an exact or facsimile copy.