The ideology of the English landscape garden 1720-1750
My topic is the genesis of the English landscape garden 1720-1750. This was developed in Britain in the first half of the eighteenth century and has been called "emblematic or learned", since the visitor was expected to decipher its various meanings. These were often communicated through buildings, sculptures and inscriptions, and cumulatively conveyed through the sequences in which these features were arranged. While historians have studied the iconography of some of those gardens (notably Stowe) in depth, there are areas which, though acknowledged, have yet to be dealt with thoroughly. These include the well-known "Chinese" connection, the details of the gardens' political status, the significance of the Venetian aspect of the Palladian revival, and the role of Freemasonry and masonic ideas. In this dissertation my aim has been to explore these various aspects showing how, if considered all together, they can help us to better understand the different meanings of the early landscape garden. In the introduction I give a description of the early English landscape gardens. In the first part I discuss the importance of the Chinese gardens for the origins of the "idea of irregularity" in the new style of garden. Then in the second part I go on to investigate the eighteenth century political background and its connections with the architecture of the early landscape garden discussing the influence that the surviving myth of Venice had on Neo-Palladianism. Finally, I examine whether the garden contained buildings that could reflect masonic moral and architectural concepts.