London: printed for J. Dodsley, Pall-Mall, M.DCC.LXXXIII . First Edition thus. Half-Calf. First (and only) Edition in English, translated from the French; considered the more valuable for its 55 page introduction by the translator. Small 8vo: ,lv,,160pp, with copper-engraved frontispiece of the Ile des Peupliers. Nineteenth-century black calf flat spine ruled and lettered in gilt, marbled paper-covered boards, all edges untrimmed. Fine, clean, wide-margined copy. Adams, The French garden, 1500-1800, pp. 127-31. Siren, China and gardens of Europe of the eighteenth century, pp. 125-132. Oxford Companion to Gardens, p. 228. Fine. Item #BB1471
First published in Geneva, in 1777, as De La Composition des Paysages. The English translation was long (and is still widely) attributed to Daniel Malthus (father of the economist and demographer), but according to the ODNB, Thomas Malthus "firmly contradicted" the statement by an obituarist that his father had ever translated works from French. Patricia James (Population Malthus, pp. 77-78) suggests that the translator may have been Jane Dalton, a cousin of Daniel Malthus. Siren calls An Essay on Landscape a "manifesto in which the general principles of the English landscape gardeners are modified from the French point of view." In it, Girardin lays out the principles he followed, guided by the romantic ideals of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (his friend and mentor) and the landscape architect J. M. Morel, in the creation of his estate at Ermenoville, north of Paris, one of the first and finest examples of the French picaresque landscape garden. Girardin believed that gardens should be composed of series of scenes, like paintings, each designed to be experienced from a particular point of view at a specific time of day. "Some scenes should evoke solitude, others the pleasures of rural life, others the ideals of harmony and innocence." Temples, towers, altars, grottoes, rustic huts, a primitive bridge, and various other architectural monuments dotted the landscape at Ermenoville and were meant to evoke Rousseau's novel of sentiment, Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse. On the artificial island (Ile des Peupliers) in Ermenoville's artificial lake, Rousseau was entombed in a marble sarcophagus designed by Hubert Robert. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.