Formal & Informal

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s as if the designer of Dumbarton Oaks garden took the interior of a gracious home and recreated it outdoors, made of lawn, trees, bushes, fountains, trellises, and bricks. Some of the “rooms” are small and intimate, quiet spaces to relax and be oneself.

This is not one of them. This is a formal space, suited to high diplomacy, state dances, and receptions for royalty. It is a paragon of symmetry and elegance.

It is not a place for modern people. Contemporary habits of dress, posture, and behavior simply do not comport with this environment. If you can see the two figures entering frame left, you’ll see what I mean. They do not belong here, and on some level they know it.

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