Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Wisdom From Gertrude Jekyll's 'Old English Household Life'

"It is a strange thing, and one of the most regrettable, but it seems to be a law with hardly any exception, that the new order that replaces the old bring with it unsightliness in place of the former comeliness. And though the re-awakening of a sense of beauty in matters concerning architecture, house decoration and furnishing and the arranging of gardens, among people of the more well-to-do classes has arisen to a new and better life, yet in all that pertains to the simple necessities of life and their production, is changing from its older beauty into something, in most cases, of positive ugliness. It is now rare indeed that, passing along country roads and through villages, anything new is to be seen that has any kind of attractive appearance. So it is also in and about the farm. If a new farm building is wanted it is roofed, if not wholly constructed, of corrugated iron. What a miserable contrast to the simple old building such as the one shown with granary above and shelter for carts and waggons below. In the more advanced farming, mechanical traction is taking the place of horse power. Perhaps a few years hence we shall no longer see the jolly teams of horses starting out for the day's work or see them at work in the field or carrying the loads of farm produce along the roads. Are we to expect the extinction of those splendid breeds of heavy horses-the grand Shires and the powerful Suffolks? Is all this living strength and beauty to give way to dead contrivances of unsightly iron?"
From 'Old English Household Life' by Gertrude Jekyll, 1925

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