„The subjugation of self to the „as found“, …“ / ‚making ideas manifest‘ von alison smithson

Yet, as nearly everyone is in cars, we are all experiencing, exploring, a new sensibility, in the way the makers of the English Landscape Garden first experienced the Grand Tour in their coaches, explored it in literature, responded to an art being made and being bought by contemporairies.

Eighteenth century Englishman made use of their awareness of their new sensibility when they came to make gardens, utilized it in order to discover what it was a garden was to serve, what was its function – as an art of the garden, what it should express – its spirit, what sensibilities it should engender in its users.

A person in the garden was expected to want to have the garden induce certain types of thoughts while breathing the dark smells of the evergreens ot the perfume of the box hedge after it has been raining. In certain characters of place, to want to react to the solemnity of ivy on wall or on the ground or have rocks allude to terror and the awfulness, awesomeness of remoteness; or for sheet water to cause contemplation, and distant views bring tranquillity.

The garden was to make real the connection to:

Memories held in common

Things read

Pictures admired places visited (often on the Grand Tour)

Scenes appreciated (the Campagna often in the Alps)

(The appreciation of other places is perhaps one of the arts of the English!) The garden embodied a certain disembodied ethos* held in common by the English. *(ethos: characteristic spirit of community or people)

Expression of affection towards the landscape is acceptable, the pastoral was an acceptable part of the classical education. The subjugation of self to the „as found“, the genius loci, the spirit of the place, supported the sensibility that energized the English Landscape Garden.

alison smithson, ‚making ideas manifest and so introducing sensibility to car movement‘, smithson family archive, quoted in m. christine boyer, ’not quite architecture: writing around alison and peter smithson‘, cambridge, ma 2017

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