Tuesday, 25 August 2009

An idealised landscape

I spent Sunday morning at Stowe, the great landscape garden in central England which is generally recognised as the most complete expression of this native style. A little over-mature now (the wooded glades probably looked at their best a hundred years or so ago) the garden still has impressive vistas and retains its power to entice the visitor along its paths to view the idealised landscape that is evoked. The temples, columns and follies that are strewn throughout the glades and walks draw the visitor on through the garden, whilst also indicating the political and intellectual allegiances of its makers - we are in the English version of Ancient Greece, with its lofty idealism and anti-establishment mores.
There are in fact rather too many structures in this landscape for my taste - from one vantage point at least six are in view at once - and when first completed there were even more, but the existing landscape has been magnificently moulded and adapted, and the famous approaches have lost none of their power to impress, with the great house appearing and disappearing over successive ridges, framed at times by the arches and pavilions along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment