Theory of Garden Art

Front Cover
University of Pennsylvania Press, Mar 8, 2001 - Architecture - 504 pages

C.C.L. Hirschfeld was perhaps the most important writer on gardens and landscape in eighteenth-century Germany. Acclaimed as the "father of landscape garden art," he was influential not just in Germany but also in France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Russia. Popular with both experts and amateurs, Hirschfeld's writings had a significant effect on the development of European garden design, as well as on the establishment of public parks of his era. His celebration of the natural world sprang from his intellectual roots in Enlightened rationalism, but rather than following the systematic scientific strategy of his forerunners, Hirschfeld formulated a more popular approach that appealed to both the emotions and the reason of his audience. His five-volume Theory of Garden Art, published simultaneously in German and French between 1779 and 1785, is by far the most comprehensive of his works, and well-informed gardeners of the time considered it indispensable.

Although Hirschfeld's significance has increasingly been recognized in contemporary landscape scholarship, his works have not yet appeared in English. In this one-volume abridged edition Linda Parshall translates the essential aspects of the Theory of Garden Art, Hirschfeld's seminal work. The translation is accompanied by an introduction by Parshall, which analyzes Hirschfeld's place in the intellectual and cultural history of his time, and in the history of landscape design. This book will be a useful and authoritative contribution to both the history of landscape architecture and German cultural history.

From inside the book


On Small Garden Buildings 275 35
Volume I
Gardens Whose Character Depends
Examination of Old and New Taste in Gardens
On Resting Places Bridges and Gates 308 119
On Small Garden Buildings
Temples Grottoes Hermitages Chapels
On Resting Places Bridges and Gates
Preface iii
Towards a Definition of the Garden
Gardens According to Different Locations
Gardens According to the Seasons

On Statues Monuments and Inscriptions 312 126
On Garden Art as a Fine Art
On the Function and Dignity of Gardens
On the Various Characters of Landscape
On Woody Plants
On Flowers
On Water
On Paths and Walkways
PART THREE On Works of Art in Gardens
Gardens or Scenes According to Time of Day
Gardens According to the Character of Their
GardenRelated Improvements in Parts of
Zoos 428 153
Country Roads 436 176
Houses Garden Buildings and Garden Views 439 240
List of Illustrations
Works Cited

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Page 136 - Imbrown'd the noontide bowers; thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view; Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm; Others whose fruit, burnish'd with golden rind, Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, If true, here only, and of delicious taste...
Page 136 - Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose : Another side, umbrageous grots and caves Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps . Luxuriant ; meanwhile murmuring waters fall Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake, That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
Page 138 - But why may not a whole estate be thrown into a kind of garden by frequent plantations, that may turn as much to the profit as the pleasure of the owner?
Page 139 - ... to see several large spots of ground covered with ten thousand different colours, and has often singled out flowers that he might have met with under a common hedge, in a field or in a meadow, as some of the greatest beauties of the place. The only method I observe in this particular, is to range in the same quarter the products of the same season, that they may make their appearance together, and compose a picture of the greatest variety. There is the same irregularity in my plantations, which...
Page 139 - ... a natural wilderness, and one of the uncultivated parts of our country. My flowers grow up in several parts of the garden in the greatest luxuriancy and profusion. I am so far from being fond of any particular one, by reason of its rarity, that if I meet with any one in a field which pleases me, I give it a place in my garden.
Page 138 - It is a confusion of kitchen and parterre, orchard and flower-garden, which lie so mixt and interwoven with one another, that if a foreigner who had seen nothing of our country, should be conveyed into my garden at his first landing, he would look upon it as a natural wilderness, and one of the uncultivated parts of our country.
Page 138 - There is something more bold and masterly in the rough, careless strokes of nature, than in the nice touches and embellishments of art.
Page 139 - There is the same irregularity in my plantations, which run into as great a wilderness as their natures will permit. I take in none that do not naturally rejoice in the soil ; and am pleased, when I am walking in a labyrinth of my own raising, not to know whether the next tree I shall meet with is an apple or an oak, an elm or a pear-tree.
Page 97 - I rather fancy myself upon parties of pleasure, than upon the road; and sure nothing can be more agreeable than travelling in Holland. The whole country appears a large garden; the roads are well paved, shaded on each side with rows of trees, and bordered with large canals, full of boats, passing and repassing. Every twenty paces gives you the prospect of some villa, and every four hours that of a large town, so surprisingly neat, I am sure you would be charmed with them.

About the author (2001)

Linda B. Parshall is Professor of German Literature at Portland State University.

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