English landscape garden reflected baroque tradition.
In landscape history it is important to note the influence on a particular period’s garden design or style.
Nothing happens in a vacuum.
It is the Dutch that gave us the word ‘landscape’ but they also influenced the English landscape garden of the early 1700s.
Tim Richardson writes in his book The Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden: “It could be argued that the landscape movement was not primarily a reaction at all, but grew organically out of the tradition of the baroque formal garden, particularly the ‘Dutch’ elements of it, and in so doing retained many of its features.”
The landscape garden borrowed features from the baroque garden, like the formal and symmetrical French design that one could see at Versailles with its grand formality, straight lines, elaborate parterres, and symmetry. The landscape of Louise XIV’s summer palace designed by Andre LeNotre illustrated a sense of human domination over nature. Nature is to be subservient to man, according to the philosophy of the baroque period. Religious sentiment too supported that view by interpreting the garden of Eden story with God’s command for human dominion over all of nature.
Hampton Court in the late 1600s illustrated that baroque look as well. [below]
Notice the straight lines in the design but also the use of water. All the plantings filling in each partere surrounding the fountain illustrate the formal look of the design.The grand view with a lawn would become the signature look of the landscape garden, but it was also part of the baroque style at Versailles where the lawns swept down from the Palace.
The English borrowed the very name of this art form of using plants, stone, and water to create an outdoor scene of natural beauty. Richardson writes, “The word ‘landskip’ was a term derived from the Dutch landscape or ‘land shape’, which was used exclusively to describe landscape paintings.”
It was both the Dutch and French influence in landscape design that the new English landscape garden of the early 1700s reflected.