The English Landscape evolved out of changing ideology and inclination toward rejecting the distinct formality and politics of the French Baroque. Charles Bridgeman created a progressive landscape that was flexible and flowing rather than geometric and stiff. The idea of a main axis was becoming less important. He was influenced by the ideas of philosophers Locke and Addison. He wanted to create a reaction through sensory awareness. Bridgeman was a transitional phase out of Baroque, thus though it was much less manicured and high maintenance and more connected to the natural landscape. The defining attribute he created, the ha-ha, is a recessed wall that prevents unwanted intruders like animals from coming in while still borrowing the landscape beyond. In summary his gardens included direct, expansive views of the landscape, canals, greens and amphitheaters masterly integrated and weaving paths through the wood.
William Kent often changes Bridgeman’s work and Capability Brown’s landscape often revamps Kent’s work. William Kent was not trained in creating landscapes. He created gardens that overlaid formal paths meandering, serpentine, undulating lines. His works were considered pieces of garden theatre. He, too, was interested on how to steer people through the landscape and create choreography of sentiment. There were absolutely no straight lines and his gardens were studded with temples, grottoes and statues. His design was picturesque, not quite nature as nature intended but rather a romanticized version of nature. His gardens were used as a place for conversation about war and social rebellion.
Capability Brown decided to further loosen and soften up the landscape. The landscape of Stowe, which Bridgeman, then Kent and then Brown worked on came to signify conspicuous consumption. The garden included subtle iconography hinting at political allegiance, classical moral tales, and sexual narratives. Browns gardens were very informal, concerned with sophistication and contentment of the viewer. He was inspired by England rather than Rome. He was satisfied with a pure, united landscape that “so closely…copy nature [that] his works will be mistaken”.