Another style of gardening which began during the eighteenth century was the Picturesque. William Gilpin (1724-1804) first used the word ‘Picturesque’ in 1768 in his An Essay on Prints, defining it as ‘that kind of beauty which would look well in a picture’.

Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824) was critical of the work of ‘Capability’ Brown. He felt that wrapping everything in green ‘Makes one dull, vapid, smooth, unvaried scene.’ He argued that Picturesque beauty was only appreciated by someone looking at a landscape in the abstract, while bringing their own emotions and feelings to the scene.

Uvedale Price (1747-1829) argued that a scene or a painting was only Picturesque if the drama was inherent in the object. For him the landscape garden at Hawkstone Follies in Shropshire was the ideal. Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) described his visit to Hawkstone in 1774: ‘…the awfulness of its shades, the horrors of its precipices, the verdure of its hollows and the loftiness of its rocks’.

In 1820s, a taste for Swiss architecture was adopted by the Picturesque Movement. At Old Warden, Shuttleworth, Lord Ongley designed an ornamental garden with ornate bridges, water, sculpture, a rockery, a fernery, grotto and the ubiquitous Swiss Cottage.

Examples of Picturesque Gardens can be seen at:

Hawkstone Follies

The Swiss Garden at Old Warden, Shuttleworth

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