GARDENS AND THE PICTURESQUE: STUDIES IN THE HISTORY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE by John Dixon Hunt
MIT Press, 1992 First edition, 388pp., 7 1/4" X 10 1/2" Hardcover
John Dixon Hunt is widely considered one of the foremost of today's writers on the history and theory of gardens and landscape architecture. Gardens and the Picturesque collects 11 of Hunt's essays - several of them never before published - that deal with the ways in which men and women have given meaning to gardens and landscapes, especially with the ways in which gardens have represented the world of nature "picturesquely." Ranging over subjects from the cult of the picturesque to verbal-visual parallels within gardens, from allegorical imagery to landscape painting, these essays brilliantly invoke Hunt's fascination with the idea of the garden both as a milieu - by which gardens become the most eloquent expressions of complex cultural ideas - and as a site of cultural translation, whereby one period shapes for its own purposes the ideas and forms inherited from its predecessors. From Castle Howard in Yorkshire to French impressionist gardens the essays deal with several crucial aspects of the picturesque controversy, how practical applications of the Picturesque taste affected people's treaty with and experience of landscape gardens and even the larger landscape - this last is tracked through the work of the great painter J. M. W. Turner and his talented commentator, John Ruskin, as well as through the garden designs of Humphry Repton and the lingering debts to the picturesque movement that haunt modernist theory. The book concludes with a consideration of the utopian aspirations and views of the garden in different societies.