In water, all the wildness of romantic spots in nature is to be imitated or preserved; and the lake or stream with bold shore and rocky, wood-fringed margin, or the cascade in the secluded dell, are the characteristic forms. The keeping of such a landscape will of course be less careful than in the graceful school. Firm gravel walks near the house, and a general air of neatness in that quarter, are indispensable to the fitness of the scene in all modes, and indeed properly evince the recognition of art in all Landscape Gardening. But the lawn may be less frequently mown, the edges of the walks less carefully trimmed, where the Picturesque prevails; while in portions more removed from the house, the walks may sometimes sink into a mere footpath without gravel, and the lawn change into the forest glade or meadow. The architecture which belongs to the picturesque landscape, is the Gothic mansion, the old English or the Swiss cottage, or some other striking forms, with bold projections, deep shadows, and irregular outlines.
Rustic baskets, and similar ornaments, may abound near the house, and in the more frequented parts of the place.
The recognition of art, as Loudon justly observes, is a first principle in Landscape Gardening, as in all other arts; and those of its professors have erred, who supposed that the object of this art is merely to produce a fac-simile of nature, that could not be distinguished from a wild scene. But we contend that this principle may be fully attained with either expression - the picturesque cottage being as well a work of art as the classic villa; its baskets, and seats of rustic work, indicating the hand of man as well as the marble vase and balustrade; and a walk, sometimes narrow and crooked, is as certainly recognized as man's work, as one always regular and flowing. Foreign trees of picturesque growth are as readily obtained as those of beautiful forms. The recognition of art is, therefore, always apparent in both modes. The evidences are indeed stronger and more multiplied in the careful polish of the Beautiful landscape,* and hence many prefer this species of landscape, not, as it deserves to be preferred, because it displays the most beautiful and perfect ideas in its outlines, the forms of its trees, and all that enters into its composition, but chiefly because it also is marked by that careful polish, and that completeness, which imply the expenditure of money, which they so well know how to value.
If we declare that the Beautiful is the more perfect expression in landscape, we shall be called upon to explain why the Picturesque is so much more attractive to many minds. This, we conceive, is owing partly to the imperfection of our natures by which most of us sympathize more with that in which the struggle between spirit and matter is most apparent, than with that in which the union is harmonious and complete; and partly because from the comparative rarity of highly picturesque landscape, it affects us more forcibly when brought into contrast with our daily life. Artists, we imagine, find somewhat of the same pleasure in studying wild landscape, where the very rocks and trees seem to struggle with the elements for foothold, that they do in contemplating the phases of the passions and instincts of human and animal life. The manifestation of power is to many minds far more captivating than that of beauty.
* The beau ideal in Landscape Gardening, as a fine art, appears to us to be embraced in the creation of scenery full of expression, as the beautiful or picturesque, the materials of which are, to a certain extent, different from those in wild nature, being composed of the floral and arboricultural riches of all climates, as far as possible; uniting in the same scene, a richness and a variety never to be found in any one portion of nature; - a scene characterized as a work of art, by the variety of the materials, as foreign trees, plants, etc., and by the polish and keeping of the grounds in the natural style, as distinctly as by the uniform and symmetrical arrangement in the ancient style. - A. J. D.
Into this definition of the natural style Mr. Downing condenses his whole philosophy. It is a curious and interesting definition. Those who would compare it with other views may consult Waugh's "The Natural Style in Landscape Gardening," Chapter I (Historical Sketches).
All who enjoy the charms of Landscape Gardening, may perhaps be divided into three classes: those who have arrived only at certain primitive ideas of beauty which are found in regular forms and straight lines; those who in the Beautiful seek for the highest and most perfect development of the idea in the material form; and those who in the Picturesque enjoy most a certain wild and incomplete harmony between the idea and the forms in which it is expressed.
As the two latter classes embrace the whole range of modern Landscape Gardening, we shall keep distinctly in view their two governing principles - the Beautiful and the Picturesque, in treating of the practice of the art.
There are always circumstances which must exert a controlling influence over amateurs, in this country, in choosing between the two. These are, fixed locality, expense, individual preference in the style of building, and many others which readily occur to all. The great variety of attractive sites in the older parts of the country, afford an abundance of opportunity for either taste. Within the last five years, we think the Picturesque is beginning to be preferred. It has, when a suitable locality offers, great advantages for us.