The Landscape Guide

*Serpentine Style 1750

See Style Chart 

Use: The circumferential path could be travelled on horse back or in a coach to enjoy the ‘sense of being swiftly drawn in an easy coach on a smooth turf, with gradual ascents and declivities’ (Christopher Hussey). The park was used for grazing. One then observed that, although the owner was extremely rich, his resources were used productively instead of being wasted on boastful display. In Continental Europe writers, including Goethe and Rousseau, admired the style. They saw it as the Garden of the Enlightenment. It was regarded as more ‘natural’ than anything which had gone before. One must look with an educated eye to appreciate the qualities of the serpentine style.

Form: The classic features of this style were a lawn sweeping to the house front, circular clumps, a serpentine lake, an encircling tree belt and a perimeter carriage drive. This is the style of what is sometimes known as the 'English landscape garden'. One could call it the 'Brownian' style. The name Serpentine Style is used to draw attention to the use of free-flowing curves. There are many examples. In the middle years of the eighteenth century, Lancelot Brown developed a personal style which can be seen as more-abstract version of the Augustan Style. It made less use of garden buildings and more use of serpentine lines in the layout of woods and water.

Blenheim Palace, Bowood, Haga Royal Park, Stockholm, Lednice Valtice Park, Monticello, Parc de Monceau, Parc Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Petworth House, Vondelpark