Written and designed by Isaac de Caus (French, 15901648)
Etched by Peter Stent (British, active 164265)
Published by Thomas Rowlett, London
Etching; plate: 16 x 20 1/2 in. (40.5 x 52 cm)
Superscript: "Hortus Penbrochianus."
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1927 (27.66.2)
The garden of Wilton House (Wiltshire), famous today for its eighteenth-century landscape design containing England's first Palladian bridge, was originally laid out in the mid-1630s by the French-born Isaac de Caus (active 162355). It was commissioned by Philip Herbert, fourth earl of Pembroke, pivotal figure of the intellectual circles at court, to which the architect Inigo Jones (15731652) belonged. Recognized for having brought the classical style to England, Jones may well have been involved in Wilton's building campaign, given its Italianate components. De Caus's garden view, framed by onlookers in the foreground, provides an elevated prospect of the entire geometric layout, stretching from the north, across the full length of the building facade, toward a balustraded grotto at the southern end. The strictly enclosed, rectangular layout consists of three main parts symmetrically aligned around a broad central axis. Starting with a compartment of parterres de broderie nearest the house, the middle section contains a wooded area or wilderness, usually placed at the end but in this case situated so as to hide the irregular flow of the River Nadder. The large hippodrome-shaped section comprising the third part of the garden is inspired by Greco-Roman architecture. The statues and waterworks, executed by Nicholas Stone, also follow classical Italian precepts.