online: 19 october 2015
modified: 18 october 2015
18 october 2015 in a landscape
sitting beneath lime trees on a straight avenue at Kenwood...
beside a gap between branches... through which i can see an unplanned
view of a landscaped meadow... on which i see several isolated trees...
and a group of 10-20 people who may be listening to a tour guide...
(nearly two centuries later)...
...but now the people have gone and the lakes beyond take my
attention... and i recall the artificial bridge that terminates the view
from the housefront... this false bridge is intended to make the lakes
resemble a large river... wending its way towards the city...
...disliking the deception in this remaking of nature... but enjoying
the place in itself... and the sight of many people walking along the
aveneue... in peace and safety... (now that this piece of the earth is
released from private ownership... and political terror such as is
presently threatening the many people who are struggling to enter
southern europe)... i go in search of a cake or an ice cream with which
to complete a three course meal (of which i ate two courses earlier... in
the outdoor cafe)...
...wandering about this non-wilderness i looked into a book about the
work of Humphrey Repton (the designer of this artificial landscape)...
and learnt that he designed many such gardens for the owners of country
mansions in England... and that he became so skilled in this work that
he could complete the whole design during one circuit of the estate
(while making notes and sketches on horseback)... with the result that
some of the owners complained of uniformity... (of hundreds of designs
by Humphrey Repton and perhaps thousands by his followers)...
...this description of his method reminds me not of architectural
draughtsmanship but of evolution by craftwork... not depending on
drawing but on the interaction of the brain and the gardening of a
wilderness... so called!...
...but this enlarged garden of Kenwood is surrounded by the
spontaneously grown city forest of Hampstead Heath... which itself is
surrounded by the spontaneous growth of London streets and tall
buildings and railways and airports... of which the landscape of Kenwood
and the Heath and are much valued parts... of an almost nameless region
which includes all these things... as a whole that's never-ending...
© 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 john chris jones
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