Tag Archives: edith wharton

Edwardian (Horti)culture 4: The Italian Garden

'At Torre Galli' by John Singer Sargent, 1910 (Royal Academy of Arts)

‘At Torre Galli’ by John Singer Sargent, 1910 (Royal Academy of Arts)

‘The cult of the Italian garden has spread from England to America, and there is a general feeling that, by placing a marble bench here and a sun-dial there, Italian ‘effects’ may be achieved. The results produced, even where much money and thought have been expended, are not altogether satisfactory; and some critics have thence inferred that the Italian garden is, so to speak, untranslatable, that it cannot be adequately rendered in another landscape and another age.
Certain effects, those of which depend on architectural grandeur as well as those due to colouring and age, are no doubt unobtainable; but there is, none the less, much to be learned from the old Italian gardens, and the first is that, if they are to be a real inspiration, they must be copied, not in the letter but in the spirit’ (Edith Wharton, Italian Villas and their Gardens, 1904)