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The Tory view of landscape

Author: Nigel Everett
Publisher: New Haven, Conn. : Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, 1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it seemed to many that England was being transformed by various kinds of 'improvements' in agriculture and industry, in gardening and the ornamentation of landscape. Such changes were understood to reflect matters of the greatest importance in the moral, social and political arrangements of the country.
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Nigel Everett
ISBN: 0300059043 9780300059045
OCLC Number: 29796788
Description: 248 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Contents: 1. The Perception of Improvement --
2. The Whig Idea of Landscape and its Critics --
3. The Mansion and the Landscape --
4. 'Benevolent Ornaments' --
5. 'A Noble Estate' --
6. The View of Donwell Abbey --
7. 'A Sort of National Property' --
8. The Nature of Toryism.
Responsibility: Nigel Everett.

Abstract:

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it seemed to many that England was being transformed by various kinds of 'improvements' in agriculture and industry, in gardening and the ornamentation of landscape. Such changes were understood to reflect matters of the greatest importance in the moral, social and political arrangements of the country.

In the area of landscape design, to clear a wood, or plant one, to build a folly or a cottage, to design in the formal style or the picturesque, was to express a political orientation of one kind or another. To choose to employ Capability Brown, Humphry Repton or one of their lesser-known competitors, was to make a statement regarding the history of England, its constitutional organisation and the relationships that ought to exist between its citizens. Although many landowners may have been oblivious to this, there was a large body of critical opinion, poetry, theology and social discourse that offered to inform and correct them.

In this illuminating and stimulating book, Nigel Everett reviews the entire debate, from about 1760 to 1820, emphasising in particular the attempts of various writers to defend a 'traditional' or tory view of the landscape against the aggressive, privatising tendency of improvement.

Challenging the narrow implications of the existing schools of landscape historians - the 'establishment' historians, concerned primarily with currents of 'taste', who ignore the wider issues involved, and the commentators on the Left who have tended to see landscape politics as the politics of class - Everett reveals the history of English landscape as a political struggle between, on the one hand, the mechanical, universal and impersonal - whig - point of view and, on the other, the natural, Christian, particular and organic point of view.

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