(wikipedia source) It is believed that the terms landskift, landscipe or landscaef entered Britain some time after the 5th century . These terms referred to a system of human-made spaces in the land – spaces such as fields with boundaries though not necessarily defined by fences or walls. It also referred to a natural unit, a region or tract of land such as a rivervalley or range of hills as occupied by a tribe or later, ruled by a feudal lord. The term is similar in meaning to the German landschaft referring to a small administrative unit or region. The term fell into disuse and by the time of the Doomsday Book in the 11th century the word did not appear in any translation from the Latin.
The modern form of the word with its connotations of scenery appeared in the late 16th century when the term landschap was introduced by Dutch painters when referring to paintings of inland natural or rural scenery. Landscape, first recorded in 1598, was borrowed as a painters’ term from Dutch during the 16th century, when Dutch artists were on the verge of becoming masters of the landscape art genre. The Dutch word landschap had earlier meant simply ‘region, tract of land’ but had acquired the artistic sense, which it brought over into English, of ‘a picture depicting scenery on land’.
According to Jackson: “From 1577 with Harrison’s Description of Britain onwards, a new awareness of the aesthetic nature of landscape emerged as a new kind of topographical writing flourished…”. Originally the term was translated landskip which the Oxford English Dictionary refers to as the corrupt form of the word, gradually to be replaced by landscape. The English word is not recorded as used for physical landscapes before 1725.
Following a lengthy analysis concentrating on the German term landschaft, Richard Hartshorne defined landscape as referring to “the external, visible, (or touchable) surface of the earth. This surface is formed by the outer surfaces, those in immediate contact with the atmosphere, of vegetation, bare earth, snow, ice, or water bodies or the features made by man.”
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