Reconstructing ‘nature’ as a picturesque theme park: the colonial case of Ireland (NIRSA) Working Paper Series. No.32
Slater, Eamonn (2007) Reconstructing ‘nature’ as a picturesque theme park: the colonial case of Ireland (NIRSA) Working Paper Series. No.32. NIRSA - National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.
This paper explores how a form of visuality, - the picturesque became the essential framework for the emergence of a theme park on the landed estates of the Anglo-Irish landlords in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The initial cultural forms of the picturesque, which evolved from the disciplines of landscape painting and the philosophy of aesthetics, later became the design principles that guided the English Informal style of gardening. Accordingly, the original abstract concepts of the picturesque become physically embedded in the Irish landscape ecosystems and subsequently established these spatial enclaves as a picturesque theme park. In becoming spatialized, the colonial ideology of the picturesque, - designing Irish landscape to look like English landscape, -became a colonised space which was inherently hegemonic with regard to the native sense of place. In physically embedding the picturesque visual principles into the local ecosystems, the cultural forms of the picturesque take on ecological dimension to them, where aesthetic forms of society merge with the natural forms of plants and their metabolic systems. And in ‘naturalising’ the aesthetic principles of the picturesque, any portrayal of a scene from the theme park tended to replicate the hegemonic position of the picturesque as the dominant place ideology, since the portrayal tended to reproduce what the writer or author actually saw, the problem was that the scenes were already changed and manipulated to reflect the picturesque visuality. This particular social form of picturesque visuality fell from its dominant position with the fall of Irish landlordism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Repository Staff Only: item control page