A little essay on the Chinese style of gardening, as opposed to the continental style, which the author finds too formal with too many straight lines, and the English style, about which he is equally disparaging. In his preface, he says that his dissertation is upon “… the Chinese manner of gardening, which is collected from my own observations in China, from conversations with their Artists, and remarks transmitted to me at different times by travellers.”
“… Their gardeners are not only Botanists, but also Painters and Philosofers… The Chinese Gardeners take nature for their pattern; and their aim is to imitate all her beautiful irregularities.” and “… if all land-holders were men of taste, the world might be formed into one continued Garden …”
I hope that at least some of the wonderful constructions of the Chinese artist/gardeners still exist; bridges, cascades, and stony grottos, hidden temples and views through rainbowed waterfalls …
1 The author transliterated many Chinese words into English, but I have not been able to determine their correct pronunciation, and I apologise for mangling their sound, intonation, and meaning.
2 The author uses the word “awful” in its original sense of evoking awe, rather than the modern sense of unpleasant.
Genre(s): Art, Design & Architecture, Gardening
William Chambers (1723 – 1796)
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