La Géometrie Pratique
South pavilion, 'La Géometrie Pratique II, III, IV and V' (digital prints on paper and card), 'Pied de Roi II' (wood and jute)
Old library, 'La Géometrie Pratique I' (gouache and pencil on paper and card), 'Pied de Roi I' (wood with silk and linen thread, gum strip)
In a recent work The Gardens | Edinburgh I referred to John Reid’s The Scots Gard’ner (1683), the first book to deal solely with gardening in Scotland. I was fascinated by its practical advice on planting and weeding set against an insistence on planning and measuring out land. There is also a strong element of geometry included in order to create extremely regimented gardens.
La Géometrie Pratique is a four volume work published in Paris in 1702; there is a copy in the Old Library. It focuses on geometry, but the numerous illustrations include diagrams and angles positioned alongside ornate images of landscapes and gardens, mazes and grand chateaux.
My starting point was to imagine a garden designer at Traquair initiating plans with reference to this work. I made a volume of drawings for the Old Library, together with threedimensional forms in the South Pavilion. Measuring devices sat alongside each set of work – for planning on paper and then out in the garden. The proportions set out in these devices were based around the ‘Pied du Roi’ system used in France until the revolution.
Jane Hyslop is an Edinburgh-based artist with a particular interest in artist books, printmaking and drawing. She lectures in the School of Art and the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art,The University of Edinburgh. Her work examines the relationship between human activity and nature’s resilience through the study of post-industrial sites, historical gardens and the city. Her work is held in numerous collections including Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh; Tate Library, London; and Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut, USA.