“An Afternoon at the Park” — 36 Beautiful Paintings of Public Parks

The first parks were royal deer parks — large tracts of land set aside for hunting by royalty and the aristocracy.
Hyde Park in London, for example, was originally Henry VIII’s private deer chase.

Deer in a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt (1830 - 1902)
Deer in a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902)

Royal preserves evolved into landscaped parks of country houses and mansions—serving not just as hunting grounds, but also symbols of wealth and status.

Country House in a Park by Jacob van Ruisdael, 1670
Country House in a Park by Jacob van Ruisdael, 1670

During the 18th century, Britain became the world’s dominant colonial power and wealthy landed gentry wanted landscaped grounds around their country estates.

As master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace, Lancelot Capability Brown was one of the most prominent landscape architects. He would often tell clients that their estates had great “capability” for landscape, earning him the nickname “Capability Brown”.

Stone arch bridge in Stourhead. Credit Hans Bernhard
Stone arch bridge in Stourhead. Credit Hans Bernhard

Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is thought to be modeled after Chatsworth House—a stately home in Derbyshire—the grounds of which were another of Capability Brown’s projects.

In the 19th century, cities grew more crowded, and the old royal hunting grounds were opened to the public.

Kensington Gardens, London by Camille Pissarro, 1890
Kensington Gardens, London by Camille Pissarro, 1890

Rapid industrialization brought with it the need to set aside additional areas of land within cities for public enjoyment.

Having access to a natural environment was seen as a way to improve conditions for factory workers, provide better public health, and promote an amicable public gathering place.

What incredible foresight the Victorians had — a 2001 study conducted in the Netherlands found that a ten percent increase in nearby green space decreased a person’s health complaints in an amount equal to a five-year reduction in age.

It’s hard to imagine cities like New York, London, Paris, Boston, and San Francisco without parks today.

Join us as we take an artist’s tour of parks and recreation while listening to Flower Duet from Lakme.

In the Park, Paris by Childe Hassam, 1889
In the Park, Paris by Childe Hassam, 1889
Central Park by Childe Hassam, 1892
Central Park by Childe Hassam, 1892
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Hyde Park, London by Camille Pissarro, 1890
Hyde Park, London by Camille Pissarro, 1890
The Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
The Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
The Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
The Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
A May Morning in the Park by Thomas Eakins, 1880
A May Morning in the Park by Thomas Eakins, 1880
In Central Park, New York by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
In Central Park, New York by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
Tompkins Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Tompkins Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
The Coronation Procession, Hyde Park by Stanley Clare Grayson, 1853
The Coronation Procession, Hyde Park by Stanley Clare Grayson, 1853
In the Park - a By-Path by William Merritt Chase, 1890
In the Park – a By-Path by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Park Monceau, Paris by Claude Monet, 1876
Park Monceau, Paris by Claude Monet, 1876
The Drive, Central Park by William James Glackens, 1905
The Drive, Central Park by William James Glackens, 1905
Park Monceau by Claude Monet, 1878
Park Monceau by Claude Monet, 1878
Central Park by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
Central Park by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
In the Park by Konstantin Makovsky, 1881
In the Park by Konstantin Makovsky, 1881
Bank of a Lake in Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Bank of a Lake in Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Mrs. Chase in Prospect Park by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Mrs. Chase in Prospect Park by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Park Monceau by Claude Monet, 1878
Park Monceau by Claude Monet, 1878
The Mall, Central Park by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
The Mall, Central Park by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
Terrace at the Mall, Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Terrace at the Mall, Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Children in the Park, Boston by Frederick Childe Hassam (1859 - 1935)
Children in the Park, Boston by Frederick Childe Hassam (1859 – 1935)
Entrance to the Voyer-d'Argenson Park at Asnieres by Vincent van Gogh, 1887
Entrance to the Voyer-d’Argenson Park at Asnieres by Vincent van Gogh, 1887
Boston Common by Childe Hassam, 1891
Boston Common by Childe Hassam, 1891
In the Park by Eugene Jansson, 1888
In the Park by Eugene Jansson, 1888
Descending the Steps, Central Park by Frederick Childe Hassam, 1895
Descending the Steps, Central Park by Frederick Childe Hassam, 1895
In the Park by Alexei Bogoliubov, 1872
In the Park by Alexei Bogoliubov, 1872
In Central Park, New York by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
In Central Park, New York by Maurice Prendergast, 1901
In the Park by Ion Andreescu, (1850 - 1882)
In the Park by Ion Andreescu, (1850 – 1882)
Afternoon in the Park by Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens, 1885
Afternoon in the Park by Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens, 1885
Spring, Grammercy Park by John French Sloan, 1912
Spring, Grammercy Park by John French Sloan, 1912
In St Cloud Park by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1866
In St Cloud Park by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1866
In the Park by Andrei Shilder, 1886
In the Park by Andrei Shilder, 1886
Woman in the Park by Ion Theodorescu-Sion, 1919
Woman in the Park by Ion Theodorescu-Sion, 1919
Moonlight on the lake Roundhay Park Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836 - 1893)
Moonlight on the lake Roundhay Park Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836 – 1893)


References

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