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New Ages, New Opinions

Shaftesbury in his World and Today

Edited By Patrick Müller

Interest in Shaftesbury is as lively and productive today as it ever was. Indeed, the past decade has seen a veritable international renaissance in studies of his work. The various theoretical approaches of which modern critics and scholars can avail themselves are reflected in the different new interpretations we now have of Shaftesbury. This collection of essays manifests this diversity, offering a representative miscellany which covers a wide range of Shaftesbury’s own intellectual interests. The focus lies on the re-evaluations of his ethics, aesthetics, politics, religion, and literary criticism, as well as examinations of the reception of his works.
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The Third Earl of Shaftesbury: Practical Gardener and Husbandman


Suzannah Fleming, London

Shaftesbury is cited by many garden historians as providing an important early sanction to the English Landscape Garden in the eighteenth century, and in previous studies1 much of this discussion has focused on one frequently quoted passage from Characteristicks, relating to “Things of a natural kind” (Moralists 316 [393]). However, what I wish to explore here is the evidence of Shaftesbury’s own gardening and landscaping activities at St Giles’s House (see Fig. 1), as well as to survey his less well-known interest in the science (and traditions) of husbandry, together with its practical application on the estate. The Shaftesbury Estate landscape today is of tremendous cultural importance insofar as it has been the principal seat of the Ashley-Cooper family since the early seventeenth century, but it is also (as likewise in the time of the third Earl) principally in agricultural use.

Figure 1: View of St Giles’s House, late eighteenth-century watercolour. Courtesy of Shaftesbury Estates ← 93 | 94 →

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