The Arts and the Social Order
DOI link for The Arts and the Social Order
The Arts and the Social Order book
But the patrons spent more time on their country estates than in town. Rapid developments in agricultural science made estate management very profitable to the landlords, and on their estates, too, they practised for one another's admiration their taste for display. The antiquarianism of the age played a part in this. They spread an interest in gothic remains from the Middle Ages, and for the wild nature that commonly surrounds them. Wild nature, however, is uncomfortable, and the upper classes had learned to appreciate comfort as never before. Accordingly they chose to domesticate wilderness by introducing it judiciously into their private parklands. Queen Caroline, wife of George II, for instance, decided that the new artificial lake in Hyde Park should not have the rectangular uniformity of the lakes at Versailles, but the contours of a natural one-hence the Serpentine, so-called because it curves a little. A new profession of 'improving' landscape gardeners grew up, the most famous of whom in mid-century was Lancelot Brown, nicknamed
'Capability' Brown, about whom a wit said that when he got to heaven he would set about 'improving' that too.