You are here:Home/Research/ Support for Research/ Fellowships/ Fellowship Reports/ 2016–2017/ Nature as Model, Taste and Convenience as Criteria—The Position of Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell within Garden Theory

Nature as Model, Taste and Convenience as Criteria—The Position of Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell within Garden Theory

Hartmut Troll, Heidelberg University, Fellow 2016–2017, Spring

It is crucial to place Sckell’s work in a European context, as he studied in France and England. The key for this approach is his literary legacy, in which Sckell himself established such a network of references. The classification of his book remains unresolved to this day; furthermore, some information about his stay in England has been questioned. I spent some time on these issues, though the main topic of my research was cultural transfer. I first focused on the situation for German court gardeners at that time and the range of different forms of acculturation, differentiating adaption from transformation. Comparisons to the theoretical remarks of Whately, Chambers, and Repton allowed a first sketch of his position in the context of English theory. Analyzing the history of the editions of the books to which Sckell referred, it may be assumed that the genesis of his position is his stay in England in the 1770s, subsequently completed by his long-term experiences and the supplementary literary suggestions of French authors. When Sckell wrote his book, landscape gardening was criticized as a fine art, with negative connotations of dilettantism; thus, the argument about its artistic character is of great importance for Sckell. Key aspects are the role of architecture in his theory and the relationship to painting, which I was able to elaborate on.