« PreviousContinue »
GARDENING AND ARCHITECTURE.
Gardening, originally a useful, now a fine art-Architecture also, formerly a useful, now a fine art-Two different views afforded by both-Destined either for use or beauty-Foundation for criticism in these arts, laid in the emotion they excite-Poetry holds the first place-Painting and sculpture confined to objects of sight-Emotions of beauty, grandeur, and melancholy, raised by gardening -The beauties of regularity, order, and proportion, more conspicuous in architecture than in gardening-Advantage of gardening-Two things wanting to bring architecture to perfection-Simplicity essential to gardening-The bad effects of profuse ornaments-A small field to be regularly laid out; not so with a large garden-A small spot embellished with natural objects, the simplest plan for a garden-Artificial statues and buildings belong to the more complex -To pass from a gay object to a ruin has a bad effect-Vice versa, a good effect Similar emotions to be raised together-The best method for replenishing a field-A single garden distinguished from a plurality by its unity-Regularity required in that part of a garden adjoining a dwelling house-A larger prospect than can be taken at one view, never to be taken-Unnatural objects to be rejected-Faint imitations of nature to be avoided-Things trivial to be excluded-A labyrinth not justified-A winding walk-An oblique avenueA garden on a flat to be highly ornamented-A ruin to be in the Gothic formAn animal spouting water unnatural-Summer and winter gardens in hot and cold countries-The practice of the Chinese-The effect of rough uncultivated grounds; and of a garden- A garden necessary to a college-Different kinds of buildings-Those designed for utility to correspond to that design-A heathen temple-A palace-A dwelling-The proportions of doors, windows, and steps -The different forms of the rooms of a dwelling-No resemblance between musical proportion and architecture-The comparison between proportion in number, and in quantity absurd-Regularity and proportion essential to buildings destined to please the eye-Every building to have an expression corresponding to its destination-Climax to be observed-Grandeur to be the chief study of architecture-Directions for ornaments-Directions about the columns -The Grecian order-The distinction between the Ionic and the CorinthianColumns distinguished by their destination into three kinds-The ornaments that belong to each-The effect of gardening and architecture upon manners.
THE books we have upon architecture and upon embellishing ground, abound in practical instruction, necessary for a mechanic: but in vain should we rummage them for rational principles to improve our taste. In a general system, it might be thought suffirient to have unfolded the principles that govern these and other fine arts, leaving the application to the reader: but as I would neglect no opportunity of showing the extensive influence of these principles, the purpose of the present chapter is to apply them to gardening and architecture; but without intending any regular plan of these favorite arts, which would be unsuitable, not only to the nature of this work, but to the experience of its author.
Gardening was at first a useful art: in the garden of Alcinous, described by Homer, we find nothing done for pleasure merely. But gardening is now improved into a fine art; and when we talk of a garden without any epithet, a pleasure garden, by way of eminence, is understood. The garden of Alcinous, in modern language, was but a kitchen-garden. Architecture has run the same course: it continued many ages a useful art merely, without aspiring to be
classed with the fine arts. Architecture, therefore, and gardening, being useful arts as well as fine arts, afford two different views. The reader, however, will not here expect rules for improving any work of art in point of utility; it being no part of my plan to treat of any useful art as such: but there is a beauty in utility; and in discoursing of beauty that of utility must not be neglected. This leads us to consider gardens and buildings in different views: they may be destined for use solely, for beauty solely, or for both. Such variety of destination, bestows upon these arts a great command of beauties, complex no less than various. Hence the difficulty of forming an accurate taste in gardening and architecture; and hence that difference and wavering of taste in these arts, greater than in any art that has but a single destination.
Architecture and gardening cannot otherwise entertain the mind, than by raising certain agreeable emotions or feelings; with which we must begin, as the true foundation of all the rules of criticism that govern these arts. Poetry, as to its power of raising emotions, possesses justly the first place among the fine arts; for scarcely any one emotion of human nature is beyond its reach. Painting and sculpture are more circumscribed, having the command of no emotions but of what are raised by sight: they are peculiarly successful in expressing painful passions, which are displayed by external signs extremely legible. Gardening, besides the emotions of beauty from regularity, order, proportion, color, and utility, can raise emotions of grandeur, of sweetness, of gayety, of melancholy, of wildness, and even of surprise or wonder. In architecture, the beauties of regularity, order, and proportion, are still more conspicuous than in gardening; but as to the beauty of color, architecture is far inferior. Grandeur can be expressed in a building, perhaps more successfully than in a garden; but as to the other emotions above mentioned, architecture hitherto has not been brought to the perfection of expressing them distinctly. To balance that defect, architecture can display the beauty of utility in the highest perfection.
Gardening indeed possesses one advantage, never to be equalled in the other art: in various scenes, it can raise successively all the dif ferent emotions above mentioned. But to produce that delicious effect, the garden must be extensive, so as to admit a slow succession: for a small garden, comprehended at one view, ought to be confined to one expression;t it may be gay, it may be sweet, it may be gloomy; but an attempt to mix these, would create a jumble of emotions not a little unpleasant. For the same reason, a building, even the most magnificent, is necessarily confined to one expression.
Architecture, considered as a fine art, instead of being a rival to gardening in its progress, seems not far advanced beyond its infant state. To bring it to maturity, two things mainly are wanted. First, a greater variety of parts and ornaments than at present it seems pro+ See Chap. 8.
* See Chap. 15.
"The citizen, who in his villa has but an acre for a garden, must have it diversified with every object that is suited to an extensive garden. There must be woods, streams, lawns, statues, and temples to every goddess as well as to Cloa
vided with. Gardening here has greatly the advantage: it is provided with plenty of materials for raising scenes without end, affecting the spectator with variety of emotions. In architecture, on the contrary, materials are so scanty, that artists hitherto have not been successful in raising any emotions but of beauty and grandeur: with respect to the former, there are indeed plenty of means, regularity, order, symmetry, simplicity, utility; and with respect to the latter, the addition of size is sufficient. But though it is evident, that every building ought to have a certain character or expression suited to its destination; yet this refinement has scarcely been attempted by any artist. A death's head and bones employed in monumental buildings, will indeed produce an emotion of gloom and melancholy; but such ornaments, if these can be termed so, ought to be rejected, because they are, in themselves, disagreeable. The other thing wanted to bring the art to perfection, is, to ascertain the precise impression made by every single part and ornament, cupolas, spires, columns, carvings, statues, vases, &c.: for in vain will an artist attempt rules for employing these, either singly or in combination, until the different emotions they produce be distinctly explained. Gardening in that particular also, has the advantage: the several emotions raised by trees, rivers, cascades, plains, eminences, and its other materials, are understood; and each emotion can be described with some degree of precision, which is attempted occasionally in the foregoing parts of this work.
In gardening as well as in architecture, simplicity ought to be a ruling principle. Profuse ornament has no better effect than to confound the eye, and to prevent the object from making an impression as one entire whole. An artist destitute of genius for capital beauties, is naturally prompted to supply the defect by crowding his plan with slight embellishments: hence in a garden, triumphal arches, Chinese houses, temples, obelisks, cascades, fountains, without end; and in a building, pillars, vases, statues, and a profusion of carved work. Thus some women defective in taste, are apt to overcharge every part of their dress with ornament. Superfluity of decoration has another bad effect: it gives the object a diminutive look: an island in a wide extended lake makes it appear larger; but an artificial lake, which is always little, appears still less by making an island in it.*
In forming plans for embellishing a field, an artist without taste employs straight lines, circles, squares; because these look best upon paper. He perceives not, that to humor and adorn nature, is the perfection of his art; and that nature, neglecting regularity, distributes her objects in great variety with a bold hand. A large field laid out with strict regularitv. is stiff and artificial. Nature indeeo. in organized bodies comprenended unger one view studies regularity, which, for the same reason, ought to be studied in architec
* See Appendix to Part 5. Chap. 2.
+ In France and Italy, a garden is disposed like the human body, alleys, like legs and arms, answering each other; the great walk in the middle representing the trunk of the body. Thus an artist void of taste carries self along into every operation/
ture: but in large objects, which cannot otherwise be surveyed but in parts and by succession, regularity and uniformity would be use less properties, because they cannot be discovered by the eye. Nature therefore, in her large works, neglects these properties; and in copying nature, the artist ought to neglect them.
Having thus far carried on a comparison between gardening and architecture; rules peculiar to each come next in order, beginning with gardening. The simplest plan of a garden, is that of a spot embellished with a number of natural objects, trees, walks, polished parterres, flowers, streams, &c. One more complex comprehends statues and buildings, that nature and art may be mutually ornamental. A third, approaching nearer perfection, is of objects assembled together in order to produce, not only an emotion of beauty, but also some other particular emotion, grandeur, for example, gayety, or any other above mentioned. The most complete plan of a garden is an improvement upon the third, requiring the several parts to be so arranged, as to inspire all the different emotions that can be raised by gardening. In this plan, the arrangement is an important circumstance; for it has been shown, that some emotions figure best in conjunction, and that others ought always to appear in succession, and never in conjunction. It is mentioned above,† that when the most oppositee motions, such as gloominess and gayety, stillness and activity, follow each other in succession, the pleasure, on the whole, will be the greatest; but that such emotions ought not to be united, because they produce an unpleasant mixture. For this reason, a ruin affording a sort of melancholy pleasure, ought not to be seen from a flower-parterre which is gay and cheerful. But to pass from an exhilarating object to a ruin, has a fine effect; for each of the emotions is the more sensibly felt by being contrasted with the other. Similar emotions, on the other hand, such as gayety and sweetness, stillness and gloominess, motion and grandeur, ought to be raised together; for their effects upon the mind are greatly heightened by their conjunction.
Kent's method of embellishing a field is admirable; which is to replenish it with beautiful objects, natural and artificial, disposed as they ought to be upon a canvass in painting. It requires indeed more genius to paint in the gardening way: in forming a landscape upon a canvass, no more is required than to adjust the figures to each other: an artist who would form a garden in Kent's manner, has an additional task; which is, to adjust his figures to the several varieties of
A single garden must be distinguished from a plurality; and yet it is not obvious in what the unity of a garden consists. We have, indeed, some notion of unity in a garden surrounding a palace, with views from each window, and walks leading to every corner: but there may be a garden without a house; in which case, it is the
A square field appears not such to the eye when viewed from any part of it; and the centre is the only place where a circular field preserves in appearance its regular figure.
↑ Chap. 8.
Chap. 2. Part 4. § See the place immediately above cited.
unity of design that makes it one garden; as where a spot of ground is so artfully dressed as to make the several portions appear to be parts of one whole. The gardens of Versailles, properly expressed in the plural number, being no fewer than sixteen, are indeed all of them connected with the palace, but have scarcely any mutual connection: they appear not like parts of one whole, but rather like small gardens in contiguity. A greater distance between these gardens would produce a better effect; their junction breeds confusion of ideas, and upon the whole gives less pleasure than would be felt in a slower succession.
Regularity is required in that part of a garden which is adjacent to the dwelling-house; because an immediate accessory ought to partake the regularity of the principal object; but in proportion to the distance from the house considered as the centre, regularity ought less and less to be studied; for in an extensive plan, it has a fine effect to lead the mind insensibly from regularity to a bold variety. Such arrangement tends to make an impression of grandeur and grandeur ought to be studied as much as possible, even in a more confined plan, by avoiding a multiplicity of small parts. A small garden, on the other hand, which admits not grandeur, ought to be strictly regular.
Milton, describing the garden of Eden, prefers justly grandeur before regularity:
Flowers worthy of paradise, which not nice art
Paradise Lost, B. IV.
A hill covered with trees, appears more beautiful as well as more lofty than when naked. To distribute trees in a plain requires more art: near the dwelling-house they ought to be scattered so distant from each other, as not to break the unity of the field; and even at the greatest distance of distinct vision, they ought never to be so crowded as to hide any beautiful object.
In the manner of planting a wood or thicket, much art may be displayed. A common centre of walks, termed a star, from whence are seen remarkable objects, appears too artificial, and consequently
The influence of this connection surpassing all bounds, is still visible in many gardens, formed of horizontal plains forced with great labour and expence, perpendicular faces of earth supported by massy stone walls, terrace-walks in stages one above another, regular ponds and canals without the least motion, and the whole surrounded, like a prison, with high walls excluding every external object. At first view it may puzzle one to account for a taste so opposite to nature in every particular. But nothing happens without a cause. Perfect regularity and uniformity are required in a house; and this idea is extended to its accessory the garden, especially if it be a small spot incapable of grandeur or of much variety; the house is regular, so must the garden be; the floors of the house are horizontal, and the garden must have the same position; in the house we are protected from every intruding eye, so must we be in the garden. This, it must be confessed, is carrying the notion of resemblance very far: but where reason and taste are laid asleep, nothing is more common than to carry resemblance beyond proper bounds, ↑ See Chap. 4.