A Landscape for Mr. Jefferson's Retreat

Timothy Trussell

in Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039886
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043807 | DOI:
A Landscape for Mr. Jefferson's Retreat

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  • History and Theory of Archaeology


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As tobacco cultivation swept across Virginia in the eighteenth century, the art of gardening took root among Virginia's elite. Thomas Jefferson drew on elements of gardens that he read about and visited in France and England in shaping the Poplar Forest retreat grounds to express his intellectual and aesthetic preferences. He designed the north core landscape around features of English picturesque garden design. The south core drew upon the more formal rules of geometry and symmetry used in neoclassical gardens and reflected the influence of Palladio on the architecture of the house and dependencies. Drawing on documents and decades of landscape archaeology, this chapter considers ornamental landscapes as expressions of personal identity writ large. Jefferson's private retreat and grounds reinforced his notion of himself that he had developed through study, observation, and action.

Keywords: Identity; landscape; landscape archaeology; Palladio; picturesque; Thomas Jefferson; retreat

Chapter.  5512 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History and Theory of Archaeology

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