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Title: Eighteenth-century garden spaces : sensation, inspiration and imagination
Author: Coulson, Irene Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 9099
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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My thesis explores and develops an understanding of how the elements of a landscape operate on the aesthetic sense. Jay Appleton notes that while human beings are spontaneously aware of their environment, its objects have associational properties, which are not inherent in the objects themselves. He asserts that there is no detailed analysis of an actual landscape in terms, which can precisely relate biological and psychological experiences with the aesthetic satisfaction derived from the observation of natural and man-made objects distributed in a particular fashion.1 To challenge this assertion, I propose that the structure and confined landscape of certain gardens may be analysed to reveal their metaphysical properties and through them, the creative possibilities that can arise. Three specific locations are discussed, namely: The Leasowes, W. Midlands – the home of William Shenstone; Olney, Bucks – the home of William Cowper together with the associated Throckmorton Estate; and Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria – the home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Those individualistic gardens produced a focused spatial concept of sensory experience: a place to ‘be lived in’, where their owners were able to wander freely, experience freedom of thought, and find depths of poetic expression in response to powerful aesthetic conditions that arose. Their imaginations were able to experience fresh nuances, as they dwelled within places that required their active physical, emotional and intellectual participation. My proposition addresses the possibilities of articulating this spatial temporal phenomenon, in a relationship between psychological experience and aesthetic satisfaction. Examples of these poets’ work illustrate artistic response to the inspirational spaces of their gardens, which became sources of imagination and creativity in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Supervisor: Bending, Stephen ; Bygrave, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available