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Local Historian Tells Story Of The Land

book cover

Saratoga Springs, NY -- Most everyone has heard of the Hudson Valley School of painters, but how many people know about the landscapes that they painted? Local Saratoga historian, Robert Toole, has published Landscape Gardens on the Hudson which will hopefully remedy that for many.

What is perhaps so unique and compelling about the landscape gardens on the Hudson is the mind-set with which they were created. Early American ideals played strongly into the idea of the cultivated landscapes of the Hudson -- these men did not want the neat and clean palace gardens of their forefathers. American romanticism was running full force and the new Americans wanted to take advantage of the varied and beautiful landscape of their home -- 'the genius of place' became champion.

The landscape gardens of the Hudson became a more perfect version of the natural; art blending seamlessly with the untamed surroundings. America was 'Nature's Nation,' and keeping the lay of the land was central in American romanticism.

Thus the art and maintenance of many of these landscape gardens has been lost, forgotten or mishandled, so today there are precious few examples left of these spaces. Toole illuminates as many of these grounds that he can and provides an in-depth discussion of not only these landscape gardens, but in many ways also looks deeply into the heart of American values.

Amanda King | November 2010

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