Bridges and Park Scenery
Where water intersects a park in such a way as to render a bridge across it necessary in the line of approach to the mansion, the pictured design would be appropriate, particularly if the ground at each end of the bridge happened to be so elevated, or gently rising from the plane of the park as to permit the parapet to be level, instead of an extended curve, according to the usual practice in such edifices; and this circumstance would allow a greater length to the road-way of the bridge, and consequently produce an effect of magnitude at little additional expense.
Without the side arches, a building so developed would divide the grounds on both banks of the river or canal; but in this instance, a free communication is obtained, and the walks along its margins preserved entire ; which are here supposed to be decorateed by plantations, as being in the immediate vicinity of the pleasure grounds, and one bank may very correctly form a part of them.
A bridge of this description ought to be placed so near the mansion as to combine with its general design, and appear to be an essential part of the whole; in which case it wvould greatly add to its seeming magnitude and consequence, and lose its liability to the objection raised to many bridges standing in the middle of a park, on account of their unsupported and solitary appearances.
Sheets of water however beautiful in form, unless it be the ocean, are little interesting in themselves - they require the intervention of suitable objects of art or nature to decorate them, either on the margins or their surfaces, as the character of the place demands. The wise artist will supply these in order to produce variety and intricacy, without injury to the composition of the landscape, and to its correct breadth of effect, and without overloading the picture, as it is called, by too much material.
In the decoration of water, it is necessary to remember that it doubles by reflection all the objects of its margin. This circumstance is favourable, or otherwise, according as the means are adopted ;-if the banks are steep and the water narrow, an ill effect is produced, because the height of the banks is exaggerated, and the width of the water seemingly diminished. If the water is wide, as in lakes, then the steepness of its banks and the over-hanging foliages of its margin acquire added dignity and multiplied effect. The management of the varieties of the margin of ornamental water is of great conse- quence; when it is viewed transversely or over narrow portions of it, the ground should slope to the water's edge, or the banks will intercept the view of its surface and possibly hide it completely; on the other hand, when water is viewed upward in its length, steep and broken banks add the advantages of form and colour to the variety it produces, and give force and vigour to the scene. Water ought to be placed to the southward of the man- sion, not only on account of the coolness of effect, but as its brilliancy is augmented when so viewed.
Because nature is not prolific of the nobler trees in the vicinity of much water, she has added to her store such as are peculiarly suited to its decoration; and in the aquatic plants will be found the means of adding still more extensive variety, than at first appears, to the retired scenery of the grounds: these, differing in colour and character, may be so arranged as to be highly ornamental, and favorably contrast the valley with the hill. When the valley is not of adequate extent to allow the introduction of the lake, the river may be much improved by separating its course into branches: so forming small islands or aits; which, when planted according to their forms and characters, will become admirable decorations.