Picturesque is a term that’s used in 18th century England to intend to a landscape that looked as it came out from an academic painting. The word “picturesque” means “like a picture” and in 18th century England the gardeners tried to create their own admired ideal gardens. They tried to reshape their gardens as they look like painted views, thereby they tended to affect people’s point of views towards the landscapes in England and New Zealand.
Picturesque is introduced in 1782 by William Gilpin in England. William Gilpin became a theorist of picturesque ideal and he tried to guide the travelers about where they’ve to go to find the expressive landscapes and how to view a landscape.
In picturesque, the views are taken from high ground, so the setting out of the landscape is in stages and it creates the sense of broadness. Irregularity and asymmetry are used in picturesque style, because they provide contrast to the landscape and give variety. In New Zealand, many artists are inspired by the strange shapes of volcanic formations, oblique peaks of mountains. However in England, tourists had to visit the Lake District to observe these kinds of formations. Many English artists as Samuel Bourne traveled the colonial regions as India and took pictures.
Sameness and monotony are two opposite terms against picturesque, because for the picturesque artists, every line of the shape should be different than the others.
“(b Mucklestone, Staffs, 1834; d Nottingham, 24 April 1912). English photographer. He photographed extensively in India between 1863 and 1869 and is known for the elegant compositional structure of his images and for the rugged conditions under which he worked. He began photographing in 1853 in the Midlands. A decade later he moved to India and established a photographic firm in Simla with Charles Shepherd. His legendary Himalayan expeditions in 1863, 1864 and 1866 produced hundreds of dramatic views (London, V&A). His architectural studies were widely sold; his mountain landscapes and ethnographic studies, few of which survive, sold less well. On returning to England in 1870 he left the partnership of Bourne and Shepherd and became a successful manufacturer, although continuing to work as a photographer and water colour painter until his death.”
Government House, Barrackpore, from the south by Samuel Bourne, 1860s
This photo is one of the pictures that are taken by Samuel Bourne in India. Cultivated grounds of the surrounding park can be seen obviously. Bourne carefully chose vantage points and he makes us feel like we are wandering about the grounds. Bourne used dynamic perspectives and large overarching trees to make the composition more effective. In picturesque these features were used frequently. He synthesized some Indian figures as “staffage” into the picture, variously attired in native garb, and representing an infusion of human presence in the landscape which is a part of legacy of picturesque passed on photography.
View in Barrackpore Park - Lake scene
In this photo, a female figure appears along a road to watch the landscape. He positioned her in the middle distance by the water’s edge, so that she is enveloped by an arch and leaves of two trees. She’s alone under the shadow of the leaves nearby the lake and Bourne provides us to feel her loneliness. The reflections of the background are appearing on the surface of the lake.
Government House, Barrackpore, south front by Samuel Bourne, 1860s
This photo is taken from the south front of Government House. The road is leading the eyes through the government house. Short cultivated grass takes attention of the viewer and it provides a serious mood in the picture with the soldiers nearby the road. As in the other photos, the arched branches take place in both left and right side of the road. The garden is shaped as it’s a painted view and it’s the effect of picturesque in photography.