[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal. Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker.
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal
German Romanic Gardens, influenced Goethe and Caspar David Friedrich (1792)

[GERMAN ROMANTIC GARDENS]. Das Seifersdorfer Thal

Leipzig and Dresden: Vos and Leo, Schulze, 1792. First Edition. 4to. 176 pp, with 40 engraved plates by J. A. Darnstet (with original tissue guards) and engraved vignette on title-page. A crisp and clean copy, plates uncut, possibly a large paper copy, in contemporary calf, richly gilt spine, small section of upper hinge restored at foot. In excellent state, suitable for exhibition and study. Very good. Item #3715

First edition, an unusually clean copy, likely printed on Large Paper, and one of the earliest and most beautiful expressions of German Romantic book arts. This is easily the finest copy we have seen on the market.

Designed by Count Moritz Bruhl (1746-1811) and his wife Christina (1756-1816), the garden in the Seifersdorf valley (near Dresden) is justly considered to be "a masterpiece of Dresden landscape art" (Lanckoronska-Oehler). It inspired many artists and authors, including Schiller, the painter Caspar David Friedrich, and the composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann. It was the most prominent example of German garden design which emphasized the cult of "Empfindsamkeit" (Early Romanticism). Alongside garden architecture there were huts containing busts of Goethe, Wieland and Herder; artificial grottoes, ruins, hermitages, rustic shelters, garden altars, monuments and memorials, temples, statues, a chapel, and an obelisk.

The Bruhls were part of the inner circle of Duke Karl August of Saxony and their landscape garden (started in 1781) became a magnet for artistic pilgrimage: Wieland, Jean Paul and Theodor Korner all visited and wrote of their experiences. Thomas Jefferson, America's most famous landscape architect, is believed to have owned at least one book by Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker, namely his Neue Garten- und Landschafts-Gebaude (1798-1799) as was suggested by Allan Brown, "Poplar Forest: The Mathematics of an Ideal Villa" (in: Journal of Garden History 10, 1990, 117-139).

Hans Moritz Bruhl’s son invited Schinkel to advise on the building of a neo-classical villa in 1817; alas, by the mid-19th century the garden had fallen into disrepair, and only in the late 1980s have efforts been made to resurrect this fine and early German landscape garden.

The 40 engraved plates show the full range of one of German’s most gifted landscape engravers, Johann Adolph Darnstedt (1769-1844), who was much admired by Goethe and his circle. The author Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker was director of the Dresden art collections.

Rumann 67 ("among the most beautiful and important late 18th-century books"); Lanckoronska-Oehler III, 49. Hennebo III, pp. 99-107.

Price: $4,000.00

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