STOURHEAD // WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND
“Beauty” is a word which has disappeared from today’s American vocabulary.
For centuries in our “English” cultural past, the adage, “ONE IS CLOSEST TO GOD WHEN IN THE GARDEN”, was taken for granted as nearly a universal truth. Paradise was God-centered where perfection, goodness, peace, reigned in God’s Beauty on Earth, a gardened landscape named Eden in the JudeoChristian tradition.
Modernity has put an end to such dreams. Inspiration caused by God-fearing man creating beauty for the eye and ear to uplift the human soul has been replaced by the Godless, the human male and female, to be made mere animals equal in the perverse, the mundane, the animal without soul mired in ignorance and jealousy.
In a ten year period of the 1990s, I spent nearly a year of my life visiting this Stourhead of Wiltshire, England, as well as forty, maybe fifty or more Landscape Gardens of that beautiful land, other grounds of equal exquisite landscape garden beauty.
What is Beauty? What is in the power of Beauty that so inspires viewers?
What is in the power of musical Beauty that causes our breath to turn into tears when overloaded by its power? (Do listen to Richard Strauss’ opening 3 minutes of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, or attend the first half hour and the very end of the movie, “2001 Space Odyssey” for similar ‘audio punishment’ from Beauty to the ear.) Test yourself.
Beauty in music has arisen through the human male mind from the Natures grunts and explosions, winds, and seas, calls and eventually melodies. May we forever bless Beethoven and his predecessors through the ages for their cravings to package such gifts of great Beauty caused by creating noise to INSPIRE!
Our “MOTHER” Earth is endlessly offering the human eye with daily Beauty, despite the hubbub of modern life, its industry, its roads, its speed of travel and time. She sends us Beauty lessons everywhere if humankind would look…..overwhelmingly without a human touch beyond ‘preservation’.
It’s impossible for the human animal to landscape garden something measuring up to the Beauty of the Grand Canyon. We remain small animals on this huge Earth….But this animal can, and has for centuries, created landscape gardens of equal Beauty, because they ARE man made, designed, installed, maintained to gain and maintain Beauty to inspire all who enter its Garden’s gates.
Never forget that other adage the landscape gardened interested must memorize….”Landscape gardens, like people, gain character with age.”
Now, your lesson of our day…..Put into writing using accurate sentences…..from the photo of Stourhead above, WHY IS IT SO BEAUTIFUL? What tricks of the landscape gardeners’ trade were employed to achieve such harmony? Why were they done so?
And then, don’t forget to answer, what tricks of the photographers’ trade were used to assure this photo of this view of the Stourhead grounds would be beautiful…..in order to inspire the viewer?
(Special thanks goes to client B.R. for sending the above photo!)