Expertise portal University College Ghent


The historical roots of 'aesthetics' in landscape architecture: an introduction

Output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

This contribution concerns the emergence of ‘aesthetics’, as a new mode of thinking about beauty, in the history of garden making. It focuses on the 18th century and how profound changes in taste affected, if not predetermined, the evolution of garden making. In doing so, the article seeks to uncover a richer and more complex story: the different phases by which this new way looking at beauty was manifested in the history of garden making. As this is an introduction, it is not the ambition to cover Western Europe completely; the discussion is largely restricted to England and France, the two most influential countries in terms of garden making during the 18th century.
The choice to cover not only England but also France aims to show how different socio-economic, political and cultural contexts have predetermined matters of taste or aesthetics. For instance, in France we will see the ‘natural’ kind of landscape garden, in the manner of Lancelot Brown, only becoming a dominant trend in the period following the French Revolution, as a decisive phase in the emergence of ‘aesthetics’. Finally, this article ends with a discussion on the continuing importance of the 18th century for the role of ‘aesthetics’ in landscape architecture.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes
Pages (from-to)123-145
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2014

ID: 14424189