For the Person Who Has Everything

By Parker, Peter | The Spectator, May 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

For the Person Who Has Everything


Parker, Peter, The Spectator


The Hermit in the Garden:

From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome by Gordon Campbell OUP, £16.99, pp. 257, ISBN 9780199696994 In his 1780 essay On Modern Gardening Horace Walpole declared that of the many ornamental features then fashionable, the one 'whose merit soonest fades' was the hermitage. Inspired by the ancient cells of genuine religious anchorites, but largely decorative, garden hermitages had flourished in Britain during the 18th century.

While some were appropriately primitive in design, others had Gothick doorways and windows filled with stained glass, floors made of pebbles or sheep's knucklebones arranged in elaborate patterns, ceilings ornamented with pine cones, rustic furniture made from elm boles 'distorted by fungal disease', and inscriptions carved in stone to aid philosophical reflection.

Walpole may have found it 'almost comic to set aside a quarter of one's garden to be melancholic in', but this had suited the sensibility of the age. Withdrawing from the world, if only to spend the afternoon in enjoyably gloomy reflection before returning to the main house for a proper dinner, held huge appeal in an age during which Milton's 'Il Penseroso' had become a literary touchstone. In addition, buildings imitating caves or made of rubble or tree roots suited the picturesque gardening tastes of the period. Formal gardens, with their elaborate parterres and topiary, had become associated with absolute (and foreign) rulers, such as Louis XIV at Versailles, whereas 'the English style' saw gardens liberated from horticultural 'tyranny'. As Alexander Pope put it, 'the amiable simplicity of unadorned nature. . . spreads over the mind a more noble sort of tranquility'.

Creating a hermitage was one thing;

finding a hermit to live in it quite another. During his researches for this succinct and fascinating history, Gordon Campbell came across reports of landowners placing advertisements in periodicals for men prepared to grow their beards and nails, adopt traditional eremitical garb and a frugal diet, and live in solitary contemplation at the bottom of the garden. He treats such adverts with healthy scepticism, but some gardens did indeed employ people as hermits. Elsewhere owners filled the role themselves rather in the manner of Marie Antoinette playing at being a dairymaid at the Hameau. Gilbert White persuaded h is younger brother , the Reverend Henry Wh ite, to exchange his cassock for an anchorite's costume when visitors were due at his Hampshire garden, and an engraving of this playful charade decorates the title-page of The Natural History of Selborne. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

For the Person Who Has Everything
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.