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A Dialogue upon the Gardens of the Right Honoroubl

THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

[WILLIAM GILPIN]

A DIALOGUE UPON THE GARDENS OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE Lord Viscount _COBHAM_ AT STOW IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE _(1748)_

_Introduction by_

JOHN DIXON HUNT

PUBLICATION NUMBER _176_ WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES _1976_

GENERAL EDITORS

William E. Conway, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los Angeles Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles David S. Rodes, University of California, Los Angeles

ADVISORY EDITORS

James L. Clifford, Columbia University Ralph Cohen, University of Virginia Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Earl Miner, Princeton University Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota Everett T. Moore, University of California, Los Angeles Lawrence Clark Powell, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library James Sutherland, University College, London H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

Beverly J. Onley, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

INTRODUCTION

Stowe is certainly the most documented of all English Augustan gardens,[1] and William Gilpin's _Dialogue_ probably one of the most important accounts of it. He was at Stowe in 1747 and published his record of that visit anonymously the following year.[2] The _Dialogue_ reached a second edition, with some slight alterations in the text, in 1749 and a third in 1751, when the dialogue was transformed into narrative.

The _Dialogue_ recommends itself both to the historian of the English landscape movement, in which Stowe was a prime exhibit, and to the student of the later vogue for the picturesque, in which Gilpin was a major participant. His account of Cobham's gardens illuminates some of the connections between the cult of the picturesque that Gilpin fostered with his publications of the 1780s and the earlier eighteenth-century invocation of pictures in gardens.

Perhaps in no other art form were the tensions and transformations in the arts more conspicuous than in landscape gardening. Gilpin is especially rewarding in his instinctive attention to these shifting patterns; although the dialogue form is not very skillfully handled, it yet allows some play between the rival attitudes. Thus his characters attend to both the emblematic and the expressive garden;[3] to both its celebration of public worth and its commendation of private virtue. While Gilpin seems sufficiently and indeed sharply aware of set-piece views in the gardens, the three-dimensional pictures contrived among the natural and architectural features, he also reveals himself as sensitive towards the more fluid psychological patterns, what one might term the _kinema_ of landscape response. Above all, his obvious delight in the landscape garden and appreciation of it vie with an equally strong admiration for scenery outside gardens altogether.


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