The Landscape Guide


In the new garden movement the burial-ground also finds a place. Goethe dealt with this problem in his Elective Affinities. He thought that the ugliness of churchyards, which was shown both in actual monuments and in the separate treatment of the graves, might be remedied by the laying out of a Campo Santo. The practice of cremation had been growing, and this fact was an argument for setting up certain places where urns could be housed according to the rules laid down at the crematorium. But before that idea was carried out, an experiment was tried in America with a view to avoiding the ugliness of separate graves, and to place them without any regular arrangement in a landscape park, where they were scattered about and concealed from sight. In Europe similarly there were a few burial-grounds made in landscape surroundings; but it soon became apparent that this was only a way of making things worse by concealment. 

The woodland cemeteries that are to be seen nowadays are probably an experiment of the same nature. Most people’s taste has reverted to the piece of ground that is laid out formally, and attempts are made to give it an appearance of size by an imposing perspective through the middle, while particular graves are grouped together to form separate gardens. But the problem has not yet found a solution, and architects and garden artists are actively concerned with it.

If the future is not clear, at all events life is everywhere full of movement, not yet ripe for historical treatment. All garden lovers and artists may rejoice in the consciousness that in our own time a new development has come about, and one that is full of promise. There are important tasks ahead, in small and great matters alike, and we must hope for strength and energy to carry them forward.

Editors Note: The above paragraph contains the final words by  Marie-Luise Gothein's in her History of Garden Art. (Chapters 17 and 18 of the English language edition were written by an Englishman and an American). She comments on the difficulty of  writing historically about one's own time but her observations in the preceding section are far more perceptive than the work of Wright and Waugh in Chapters 17 and 18. Gothein ends on an optimistic note but the First World War was a disaster for her family and she left Europe for Java in the 1920s. The photograph below right  of Marie-Luise with her husband in 1920 makes a sad comparison with the photograph, below left, taken in 1898.

Illustrations on CD edition of Garden Visit and Travel Guide - see

Illustrations on CD edition of Garden Visit and Travel Guide - see