A little while ago, I was asked by Andy Ellis, who runs ArtUK, if I would write something about William Kent as a painter, which I was pleased to do, because of his prominence, although somewhat disregarded, in painting a number of ceilings at Burlington House, and his close friendship and alliance with the third Earl.
Reading it again, I am not sure it makes a totally convincing case for his work, but at least it brings it to public attention.
2 thoughts on “The Art of William Kent”
Walpole’s assessment of Kent’s talent as a garden designer is more flattering. He described him as ‘an original, and the inventor of an art that realises painting and improves nature’ and the ‘father of modern gardening’. It was Kent who leapt ‘the fence, and saw that all nature was a garden’ and Walpole suggested that his training in painting helped ‘the pencil of his imagination [bestow] all the arts of landscape on the scenes he handled. The great principles on which he worked were perspective, and light and shade’. His work can still be seen at Rousham and Stowe.
Thank you, yes, I should have mentioned his importance and success in landscape gardening. Charles