Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

are exotics, they are perfectly in character: and, should these be inixed indiscriminately without any design of arrangement, they still must produce a rich and a varied effect if compared to a close wood of firs only. But on the other hand, where the trees bave always had full room to expand, an open grove

of large spreading pines is peculiarly solemn, and that solemnity might occasionally be varied, and in some respects heightened, by a mixture of yews and cypresses, which at the same time would give an idea of extreme retirement, and of sepulchral melancholy. In other parts a very pleasing contrast in winter might be formed by holly, arbutus, laurustinus, and others that bear berries and flowers at that season. Whoever has been at Mount Edgcombe and remembers the mixture of the arbutus, &c. with the spreading pines, will want no further recommendation of this method : I must own that amidst all the grand features of that noble place, it made no slight

impression on me. P.301, 1.8. What has been said of the naked edges of

Mr. Brown's canals, may be illustrated by an observation of Mr. Burke in the Sublime and Beautiful'When we look along a naked wall, from the evenness of the object the eye runs along its whole space, and arrives quickly at its termination.”* This accounts for the total

* P. 27.

want of all that is picturesque, and of all interest whatsoever, in a continuation of naked, edgy linés; fór where there is nothing to detain the eye, there is nothing to amuse it. I may add, that wherever ground is cut with a sharp instrument, it has that ideal effect on the eye; it is a metaphor which naturally prevails in many languages, where lines, from whatever cause, are hard and edgy. When An, Caracci speaks of the edginess of Raphael compared with Correggio, he uses the expression, cosi duro, & tagliente - couleurs tranchantes, &c.

P.807, 1. 1. It is difficult to define with any precision,

what may properly be called the bank of a river: in its most extended acceptation, it may mean whatever is seen from the water; I wish it to be taken here in its most confined sense, as that which immediately rises above the water till another level begins, or some distinct termination. This, in certain instances, will be very clear; as where a flat meadow (but not sloped down to the water by art) joins the river. It will be equally clear, where the general bank is steep, if a road be carried near the bottom; for such an artificial leye! wilt form a distinct near bank, and one which would be distinctly marked in a picture. The highest part to which the flood generally reaches, is also a verv usual boundary; and in mact

places there is something which separates the immediate bank, from the general scenery that encloses the river. This near bank being in the foreground, is of the greatest consequence: wherever that is regularly sloped and smoothed, wbatever beauty or grandeur there may be above, the character of the river

is gone.

P.312, I. last. Mr. Repton, who is deservedly at the

head of his profession, might effectually correct the errors of his predecessors, if to his laste and facility in drawing (an advantage they did not possess), to bis quickness of observation, and to his experience in the practical part, he were to add an attentive study of what the higher artists have done, both in their pictures and drawings. Their selections and arrangements would point out many beautiful compositions and effects in nature, which, without such a study, may escape the most experienced observer.

The fatal rock on which all professed improvers are likely to split, is that of system: they become mannerists, both from getting fond of what they have done before, and from the ease of repeating what they have so often practised; but to be reckoned a mannerist, is at least as great a reproach to the improver as to the painter. Mr. Brown seems to have been perfectly satisfied, when he bad made a natural river look like an artificial one ; I hope Mr. Repton will have a nobler ambition—that of having his pieces of water mistaken for natural lakes and rivers.

P.318,1.9. Although I have allowed Mr. Brown the

negative merit of having left the wooded bank at Blenheim as he found it, yet I cannot allow that he or any of his school could ever have felt or distinguished the peculiar beauties of its unimproved state. ( A professed improver is in many respects like a professed picture-cleaner; the one is always occupied with grounds, and the other with pictures; but the eyes and taste of both are in general so vitiated by their practice, that they see nothing in either but subjects for smoothing and polishing ; and they work on, till they have skinned and flayed every thing they meddle with. ] Those characteristic, and spirited roughnesses, together with that patina, the varnisla of time, which time only can give, (and which in pictures may sometimes hide crudities which escape even the last glazing of the painter) immediately disappear; and pictures and places are scoured as bright as Scriblerus's shield, and with as little remorse on the part of the scourers.

P.320, 1.5. As I have dwelt very much on the bad

effect of distinct edges, it may be right to observe, that whenever a separation of the general covering of the ground, whether grass,

heath, moss, or whatever it be, is made by the action of water or frost, or by the tread of animals, it is free from that sharp liny appearance which the spade always leaves. Such edginess is scarcely less adverse to the beautiful than to the picturesque: it is hard and cutting; it destroys all variety and play of outline, and every kind of intricacy. Digging, therefore, with the edges it occasions, is a blemish, which is endured at first, and with reason, for the sake of luxuriant vegetation: and in some eases, as where the plants are very small, or where flowers are cultivated, must always be continued; but when the end is answered, why continue the blemish? No one, I believe, would think it right to dig a circle or an oval and keep its edges pared, round a group

of kalmeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, &c. that grew luxuriantly in their own natural soil and climate, in order to make the whole look more beautiful. Why then contipue 10 dig round them, or any other foreign plants in this country, after they have begun to grow as freely your own? Why not suffer them to appear without the marks of culture,

As glowing in their native bed?

P.323, 1.9. As Blenheim is the only place I have cri

ticised by name, an apology is due to the poble possessor of it, to whom, on many ac

« AnteriorContinuar »