Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden
TitleJapanese Garden
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingAugust 4, 1929
DescriptionDrawing of a Japanese Garden of Harlow Arden, the estate of Harlow D. Higinbotham. T. R. Otsuka designed the landscape of the garden. This drawing is a part of the Robert E. Sterling Collection.
Title of ArticleBeautiful Japanese garden
Transcript of the ArticleBEAUTIFUL JAPANESE GARDEN
A first view of the Japanese garden of Harlow Arden, the beautiful estate of H. D. Higinbotham, comes with a shock of extreme delight, so unusual it is.
Here is no appeal to astonish the groundlings, but the most consummate artistry used in the sincere effort to build up beauty, somewhat after the manner of nature herself.
For here is the immense patience and expert knowledge in handling details of design, incalculably lavish and apparently spendthrift. And at the same time there is the beauty of the big design of the garden to which the minor patterns lend themselves devoutly. And all the time you are pondering over this unusual arrangement in a garden, you feel the influence of something foreign, an alien, fantastic, but attractive spirit that rules this very odd but charming sort of plant decoration.
Beauty of Design.
The Japanese garden is truly ‘decorative' from its beginning to its finish. It is not at all after the manner of the western, the occidental or the Caucasion style of gardening. It is more abstract, since it seeks beauty thru its complete detachment its design rather than thru the throwing together of masses of colorful flowers, or by planting them in rows, feeding them nourishment and water, seeing that they are well taken care of until they develop beautiful flowers, as is mainly the caucasion way. Both methods are interesting and produce excellent results. But they are radically different. One is all thought with one definite purpose behind it, while the other is satisfied with beautiful blooms alone. Or so it seems in the large glance.
Cool Green Tones.
This charming Japanese garden is pictured in the accompanying sketch without the charm of its cool, green tones, so marvelous in the original. But it does show a little the work of the famous Japanese landscape architect in planting his patterns thru the use of different plants with different sizes and shapes of leaves.
The famous Japanese artist in gardens who built and cultivated and arranged the Higinbotham Japanese garden so artistically is T. R. Otsuka, a native Japanese, who has been the creator of several other typically Japanese gardens thruout the country. One of these interesting gardens is the Colonial Fabian garden in Geneva.
Two dark stone Japanese lanterns to be seen in this graceful garden were brought from Japan from the Chinese World's Columbian exposition, and were bought by Mr. Higinbotham at the close of the exposition.
Frame of Waterfall.
In the center of the sketch is a group of dark brownish boulders that furnish a part of a frame for a little waterfall, over which grow two trained and dwarfed mulberry trees, like inverted umbrellas, to keep it from getting wet when it rains.
In front of these stones is the great variety of low-growing plants, each one chosen carefully for the pattern its foliage will make in the entire design. The multiplicity and variety of these patterns is one of the fascinating things of this lovely garden. Not because they are flowers you observe, but because they are fundamental parts of the design. In the background are numerous types of evergreen trees, coniferous and deciduous, both with all sorts and sizes of rare dwarfed, creeping and reaching little evergreens fitted in naturally where they help the decorative effect.
The crowling, creeping evergreen at the right, in the foreground below the bulbous lanterns, is a "sabina prostrata, " if you please.
Trees of Many Varieties.
Fred Story, the superintendent of the gardens for many years, knows each one by its real name. The big dark tree in the rear is a black hills spruce, just beside a number of fairy like blue spruces of different sizes. And there are Colorado blue needles, mugo pines from Japan, many varieties of Junipers, dark green Japanese yew, Canadian yew, arbor vitae of several kinds, and above all, little bits of stone plants, that will grow in the hollows and cracks of stones as pert and cunning as you please.
There is really no end to the fascination of details in this garden. The pool is lovely in itself. And there is a little island of volcanic rock, all wrought by nature into beautiful decorative shapes. A path runs up behind the water fall, from the little steps seen at the left.
Guarded By Stone Dogs.
But there are dozens of other important features, in this garden of great extent. Over to the right is a rock garden with a Japanese influence. At the left toward the front is a mysterious path , almost hidden at times leading to the ‘Toru' or characteristic shaped gate, guarded by two robust ‘devil dogs' one smiling sardonically, the other threatening. There are dozens of these most artistic figures, grotesques and figurines, carved long ago by skillful Japanese hands. All came originally from temples of Japan.
Mr. Higinbotham spent some years in Japan where he learned to understand and to like Japanese art.
Keep Up Color Interest
home, which is simple and beautiful both without and within, is the formal flower garden, a thing of beauty at all times. It is so arranged that different flowers blooming at different times keep up the color interest of the garden.
Here are blue torinias, heliotropes, delphineums with the anchusa Italica at the rear row, making a delightful harmony. The ‘morning bride' in the loveliest of colors, and some royal blue velvet petunias that came from England, are Mrs. Higinbotham's particular favorites. They are like rich plush, while the Salpiglossis are like brocade. There are endless richnesses of flowers, and Mrs. Higinbotham knows each one by name.
This garden has been developing for 15 years, she says, and is still in process of development.
Mr. Story has been in charge of the gardens for 31 years, and the results of his management show beautifully.
Japanese Tea House.
Mr. Otsuku comes yearly to see that the Japanese garden grows as it should.
Besides all this, decoratively placed, there is a Japanese tea house where real Japanese tea may be served.
A beautiful feature of the mansion is a tower at the south, overgrown with ivy. It is most artistic and suggests thoughts of art. So it is most natural that Miss Florence Higinbotham, who continues her studies of art in design and sculpture both in the east and in the Art Institute, who has just returned home—it is quite natural that she should choose this for her studio.
Miss Higinbotham—who is very modest about her work, was persuaded to show some of the results of her years of artistic toil. Pen and pencil drawings and designs, block prints, wood engravings, color prints, color sketches and various other media of expression showed fine training versatility. Some animal and human anatomical studies were replete with vitality as well as knowledge. Her work is entirely sincere and promises much.
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description30 cm. x 22.5 cm.
SourceClick this link for more historical information on the Joliet area - http://lewisu.edu/imcanal
Publisher (Digital)Lewis University
RightsAll rights held by Lewis University. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection at Lewis University at 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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