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William Kent, 18th Century English Artist and Landscape Gardener

A pond at Rousham’s Vale of Venus. 

Landscape gardening in 18th century England moved in a new direction with the inspiration of artist William Kent (1685-1748).

Kent considered landscape gardening an art, as expressed in nature, with no symmetry or  straight lines, but like nature, in curves.

Writer Horace Walpole in the important collection of English landscape essays The Genius of the Place said about Kent: “Kent leaped the fence, and saw that all nature was a garden.”

Kent designed the house and landscape of England’s Rousham, which still stands as a mecca for those eager to see Kent’s work.

What I liked about Rousham on my visit was its lack of any commercial presence.  You can visit the  gardens and not be coaxed into buying a Rousham souvenir.

Last winter I heard English landscape designer Dan Pearson’s  lecture at Boston’s Trinity Church where he referred to Rousham as a garden of inspiration.  For his new book entitled Spirit: Garden Inspiration, Dan traveled the world to see uplifting landscapes.

Rousham  encourages a visitor to  walk the grounds.  And walk I did, enjoying every moment, and inspired along every path.

Because Kent created it as a work of  art, Rousham’s grand landscape in the English picturesque style offers a sense of rest.

What makes your garden an inspiration to you?  Is there a sense of peace you feel when you are in it?


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