The Landscape Guide

Herrenhausen Wilhelmshöhe Schleissheim Nymphenburg Karlsruhe Ludwigsburg Brühl Schönborn Marquardsburg Favorite Gaibach Pommersfelden Brüchsal Waghäusel Würzburg Veitshochheim

Brüchsal was not to remain as the only castle that Damian built and beautified with a garden. He raised the fortunes of the bishopric by the exercise of extreme personal economy, and there arose not far from Brüchsal another place called Kisslau, now quite abandoned, and a few miles farther on the peculiar hermitage of Waghäusel

The spiritual lords of Germany were well suited to maintain vigorously that union of worldly pleasure and unworldly piety in the eighteenth century which began with the Renaissance and was especially observable in Spain. They found an outward symbol in the hermitage. Damian’s personality, his true piety, his passion for building and the chase, and his love of art, all made him a typical representative of this spirit of the age. So his hermitage was close to an important cloister, with beautiful woods suitable for hunting, and therefore to his liking.

He was quite in earnest when he set about making his stucco-work in the hall “ in hermit fashion,” giving his instructions from Rome in 1 730. One piece of the ornament is still extant, showing in the painting of the dome what this hermit-decoration meant (Fig. 474).

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 The picture has a double interest: it shows a hermit’s hut built into an ancient ruin; sup- ports are seen fixed two by two, holding up a defective roof of straw, which is made to cover wooden beams exposing through their arches all sorts of other bits of ruined material; and sacred utensils are hanging on the temple pillars. The idea was to depict a garden hall with a hermitage roof, Very far removed as such a painting seems from the ancient frescoes, it certainly belongs to the same stage of development. It is here that the sentimentality of the age first makes its appearance, for it was not very much later that men began to put up buildings in the parks outside, which came into existence from the very same feeling. 

The sickly fancy for ruins and hermitages, not unknown in the days of the Renaissance, but at that time quite overmastered by experiments in other directions, has now grown more and more into a real passion, and the picture we give here is only a very early indication of what this movement will produce later on. From its structure Waghäusel ranks with open central buildings, and also clearly shows that it is a hunting place. Just as at Clemenswert, there are four pavilions at the openings of four avenues. Nothing of its garden surroundings is preserved, but a later plan gives fruit-trees in a concentric arrangement, and this may have been in the original design.

The two brothers of Damian Hugo held the bishopric of Würzburg one after the other, with a very short interval. The Residence was built for them by the most important architect of Middle Germany, Baithasar Neumann. The foundation of the beautiful castle, one of the most conspicuous of the eighteenth century, was laid in 1720, but building was postponed owing to the early death of Bishop Johann Philip Franz, and it was first finished in rough-cast in 1744 by his brother Friedrich Karl. Neumann certainly had the sketch for the garden in his hands in 1730, but it was only gradually made along with the castle, so that when Salomon Kleiner published his album of  Würzburg in 1740, it only contained a page giving a bird’s-eye view of the garden at its earliest stage. The plan is determined in connection with two corners of the town fortifications (Fig. 475)

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 The middle axis of the castle was intentionally directed towards one of these, and the flower-garden had to conform, finding its appointed end behind the parterre at the raised steps of the citadel terrace, which, according to the first sketch, had two summer-houses at the top. The second corner was in the line of the vegetable-garden, where there were also boskets, a labyrinth, and the orangery. There was another part on the side, according to the favourite plan in gardens of Middle Germany.

As at Würzburg, the garden at Mannheim made use of the fortresses in its design. The garden had to be laid out to agree with the extremely formal lines of the plan of the town, and then had to fit into the three corners of the fortifications in a shape that was practically the same in each case : the number of separate parterres was restricted. by the raised “ surround “ which ran alongside the walls.

The Würzburg garden owes its completion and its historical importance to the second owner after the Schönborns, one Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim, who in 1770 sum moned to his aid as inspector of gardens the famous Bohemian botanist Johann Procopius Mayer. He enlarged the place, and gave it the form which it still keeps in the main (Fig. 475). Mayer, an artist of much taste and intelligence, published a book in 1776; though it was first and foremost botanical, it treated the art of the garden in a theo- retical and pedagogic fashion.

At the time Mayer wrote, the English style of gardening had already made a victorious onslaught upon Germany: but he defended the formal style at Würzburg with the full sympathy of his employer, and made his defence in an essay at the beginning of the book. “ Here we are to have no simple shepherdess, plucking meadow-flowers to adorn herself withal, but some proud court beauty must appear in all her paint and finery, one who is not debarred by dress or station from the free use of ornaments and gold, but must shine in array worthy of a palace—and of what a palace, one of the finest in Europe!“ The real nature of the rococo in Germany could not be better described, and the garden was laid out in just this spirit. 

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The ornamental part (Fig. 476) had no real axis, and the balustraded terrace beside the parterre, and the plan of steps, which includes cascade and grotto and is continued to the garden by a semicircular trellis, produce a picture that for gaiety and splendour suggest Italian rather than French models, The natural sphere of interest for the lords spiritual was Rome, and they were attracted so strongly to Italy, and stayed there so often, that it is not surprising that the artistic bent of France in the garden was often interfered with by that of Italy.

At Würzburg the orangery was close to the charming flower-garden at the narrow side of the palace, and the kitchen-garden was beside the second corner of the fortification. Mayer himself was careful to draw attention to the gradation of his garden. After the orangery there follows what he calls the strolling garden or labyrinth, “of a kind that really comes nearer to the country.” It is a curious place (Fig. 477): it has hedged paths

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


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


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


that have nothing to do with the old sort of labyrinth, and within them a host of small erections: temples, Gothic ruins, coal-sheds, barns, hermitages, all these being required by the new style, though grouped in regular order; for this was a tribute that Mayer felt he ought to pay to his own age. Farther along the plan shows us nothing but a sunk bosket and a grotto with figures from Æsop’s fables. Many statues are still preserved (Figs. 478 and 479).

The Prince-Bishop Adam von Seinsheim was still very earnest about the old style, and he had every garden kept thus in his castles at Bamberg and Würzburg, although many of his artists, and among them the Inspector Jacob, “ admired the English style in their hearts.”

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Veitshochheim Hofgarten also, the pleasure-castle of the bishops of Würzburg, was, if not designed, at any rate finished by him, and furnished with fine statuary (Fig.:480), which has survived till now, giving a picture of German rococo, wherein, in many colours and combinations, we find mythical gods, shepherds and shepherdesses in fancy dresses, and peasants in the costume of the day. This is a fashion that Italy probably introduced in the seventeenth century, but which constantly lent a charm to German gardens, always picturesque though often verging on the grotesque and even on caricature.

The castle of Veitshochheim was originally a centre building, a typical shooting-box. It lies on a high balustraded terrace with groups of children and a small parterre. Here, too, the garden lies in a side direction. Four avenues traverse this part lengthwise, dividing it into three sections, more or less answering to the French boskets. From the side façade there starts an avenue of fig-trees, first passing an out-of-door theatre, then various boskets, round temples, and statues till it comes to an end, where the corner is occupied by a pretty octagonal summer-house, which has its ground-floor treated as a grotto. The second axis also passes by boskets and round spaces ornamented with temples, fountains, and statues. In the third division there is a very large and somewhat elongated basin with a wavy border, and hedges and boskets: in the middle of the basin stands a bold group of Pegasus, which was originally painted, thereby showing something of the grotesque as well as the picturesque. This axis is finished off with a small pond. Cross-paths are cut into the long ones, so that you see temples, ponds, cascades, and summer-houses from every point of intersection. It is a pity that the clipped hedges, which were still there in:1830, have not remained in fashion, for with proper training and the use of the shears this garden might very easily have kept its original character.

It was only to be expected that when clerical magnates were thus flourishing, the monasteries would not be left behind, If at that period the style and ornament of churches reached the highest point in art and splendour, it was natural and right that their gardens should match them. The owners had long abandoned the simple laws of the kitchen- garden, and now were laying out grand flower-gardens, whose high walls showed a special desire for seclusion as at the Paulanerkloster, near Munich (Fig. 481).

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