The Garden Guide


Romanticism shows itself in the artist's attitude of mind and choice of subject. It entered the language of art criticism in the eighteenth century (and has since become more widely applied). The word derives from the from the Romances of the Middle Ages, which were written in Romance languages (ie languages, like French) deriving from Latin.. They told of chivalrous deeds in 'romantic' settings. By the late-eighteenth century 'romantic' was being used as a term which contrasted with 'classical'. Nicholas Pevsner argued that the 'irregularity' which affected English gardens in the first quarter of the eighteenth was the first breath of romanticism on European art. Other historians talk of the whole eighteenth century as a 'pre-romantic' period in contrast with the full-blown romanticism of the nineteenth century. Ruined temples beame more significant than new temples because they had a greater affect on the viewer's attitude of mind, suggesting the passage of time, human frailty and heroic deeds in ancient times.