LAAR, Gijsbert van (1767-1820). Magazijn van Tuin-Sieraden; of verzameling van modellen van aanleg en sieraad, voor groote en kleine lust-hoven, voornamelijk van dezulke die...

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LAAR, Gijsbert van (1767-1820). Magazijn van Tuin-Sieraden; of verzameling van modellen van aanleg en sieraad, voor groote en kleine lust-hoven, voornamelijk van dezulke die, met weinig kosten, te maken zijn. Zaltbommel: Johannes Noman en Zoon, [1831].


4to., (11 ¼ x 9 ¼ inches). Hand-colored vignette title page. 190 engraved plates with original hand color (very slightly toned). Late 19th-century half black morocco, the smooth spine separated into five gilt-ruled compartments, gilt lettered in one (extremities bumped, one or two pale stains), preserved in a modern clamshell box.

Provenance: 19th-century book label of Hendrik Gramer, an architect from Rotterdam, on the title page. Estate of William McCarty-Cooper, his sale, Christie’s, 25 January 1992, Sale 7402, Lot 78.

Third edition, first published in Amsterdam in 1802. With 190 EXTREMELY FINE engravings with ORIGINAL HAND COLOR. This beautifully illustrated volume “is a unique document for those seeking a deeper understanding of the development of the landscape garden in the Netherlands around the year 1800. No other work of this kind was published at the time in Holland, and no publication gives a better visual overview of what was a crucial and complex transitional moment in Dutch garden history.

“It was precisely at this moment that Dutch gardens underwent major changes, with traditional formal gardens being replaced gradually by informal landscape gardens. Gardens laid out in this period – from roughly 170 to 1820 – belong to what is defined as the Early Landscape Garden period in the Netherlands. Irregular features characteristic of the English landscape garden – undulating grounds with artificial hills and valleys; winding paths; curvilinear bodies of water; ponds with little rounded islands; and wooded areas densely planted with a combination of trees, shrubs, and exotic flowers – were adopted only hesitatingly in Holland; as a result, the Early Landscape Garden is a transitional style drawing from both the formal and informal garden-design traditions. Initially, only basic landscape-garden elements were introduced, such as winding paths and rounded ponds. These were applied to the geometrical grid of formal, seventeenth-century layouts, with most gardens retaining their rectilinear framework of canals and their symmetrical inner arrangements. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, as the principles of landscape gardening came to be more widely understood, a reaction against the partial rigidity of the Early Landscape Garden is noticeable. Landowners begin to embrace a more spatially conceived, all-encompassing approach to landscape design, resulting in the development of the Mature Landscape Garden style. Characteristic features of landscape gardens, including undulating ground parcels, randomly grouped trees, and curvilinear bodies of water, were applied more boldly and throughout the entire layout of an estate. The publication of Van Laar’s ‘Storehouse of Garden Ornaments’ greatly stimulated the development of landscape gardening in Holland. For us today, it provides a visual encyclopedia of the Early Landscape Garden style from one of its most noteworthy contemporary practitioners.

“The aesthetic changes in the arena of garden design documented in Van Laar’s work occurred in a sociopolitical period in post-Revolutionary Europe that was also a time of great transition. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Holland suffered serious economic hardships, the destruction and abandonment of many estates, and general neglect under ever-changing governments. These shifts are directly articulated by Van Laar. Permutations of the title of his work reflect the changing historical landscape. The first edition referred to Holland as a ‘Republiek’ in the subtitle (referring to the Batavian republic existing at the time); later editions use the term empire (‘Keizerrijk’) or kingdom (‘Koningrijk’), reflecting the period when Holland was annexed to France under Louis Bonaparte (1806-10), before achieving independence as a kingdom under civilian rule (1814)…

“Van Laar’s book is an excellent showcase for examining Holland’s response to specifically Romantic notions of nature, landscape, and gardening. In England, France, and Germany, and in Holland somewhat later, the Romantic movement helped fuel a new sense of cultural unity and national identity, and the landscape garden played a central role in this development. The idea that a country’s resurgence goes hand in hand with the revival of gardening and country life was central to the philosophical and political debates on garden design and aesthetics around the year 1800. In his ‘Storehouse of Garden Ornaments’ Van Laar proudly predicts that within two decades – providing peace and prosperity hold – Holland will possess no fewer estates that it had before the upheavals of the late eighteenth century. This time, he says, the gardens will be laid out in better taste: namely, in the latest landscape fashion. ‘For indeed,’ the author asks his readers, ‘what can be more appropriate for the collected, hard-working, and diligent Dutchman searching for repose from his labors than to devote a few days a week to the quiet tranquility of country living?’” (Vanessa Bezemer Sellers, “The Romantic Landscape Garden in Holland: Gijsbert Van Laar (1767-1820) and the ‘Magazijn Van Tuin-Sieraaden’ or ‘Storehouse of Garden Ornaments”). See: Berlin Katalog 3409.