Friday, January 7, 2011

The Trianon's Gardens and the Hamlet from Louis XVI.
The english garden of Marie-Antoinette, which replaced the botanical garden of Louis XV, emulated the latter's great variety in selection of species, but to aestetic rather than scientific ends. the goal being not assembly of typical representatives of certain plant families but maximal beauty and contrast. Likewise, the Hamleet or Hameau built for Marie-Antoinette at the extremety of the English Garden brings to mingd the ermitages of Pompadour; but these had been small chateaux or middle-class residences without any remarcable archtectural charachter, while the Hamlet imitated peasant houses, at least as shown in contemporary painting. Thus while the rustic posturing of Marie-Antoinette may be said to owe something to her predecessor's modest taste, its character was fundamentally different.

The temple of Love, in the park of the Small Trianon. Built by R. Mique for Marie-Antoinette in 1772-78. The statue "Love carving his Bow" from the masterpiece by Bouchardon (1746) long exhibited in the Salon of Hercules. 

n July 1774 the new queen of Frnace approved the paln for an English garden proposed by the comte de Caraman, who had already created a similar garden for his own pleasure. The gardener Antoine Richard had also proposed a plan. As executed, the Versailles English garden incorporated elements from both of these but was the work of two of the Queen's proteges, Richard Mique and Hubert Robert, for who the post of designer of the king's gardens had been created. The famous painteer of ruins picturisque gardens  in this mode, which had been fashionable for thirty years and was indebted to the classical landscape tradition. In comforrmity with the rules of the genre, this concentrated dose of "nature" included several of the small ornamental garden buildings known as fabriques: a Temple of Love (1777-1778), a Belvedere (1778-1779), and a theater (1779). The Hamlet, built in 1783-85, ten years after the one at Chantilly, originally included, in addition to the queen's house that made it famous, several rustic buildings that have only partially survived: a mill, a reception cottage, a billiard cottage, a small structure in which meals brought from elsewhere could be reheated, a dovecote, a gardener's cottage, a barn, and a dairy. The Malborough Tower, inspired by a famous contemporary popular song, was built as a stand-in for the lord's chateau. An actual farn was also included, but some distance away.

Belvedere in the park of Smal Trianon. Built by R. Mique in 1178-79. 

 The interior of the Belvedere. The ornamental designs, painted on stucco, are the work of Leriche. 

The Grand's Trianon garden.

The walk of the Ahahs. An ahah is a gap or opening in an enclosing wall intended to frame a perspective view. Those openings don't provide an access, at Trianon entry from the outside is precluded by small moats known as saut-de-loup or fox jumps. The Trianon park is surrounded by fence with many such ahahs. 

The revolution spared the gardens of Versailles, partly because Antoine Richard cleverly planter crops on the terraces to preclude their destruction. Louis XVIII did no more than replace on of Louis XIV's bosquets with the charming King's Garden, which, with its variwgated species, plant borders, clumps of trees, and picturisque character typifies early 19th century garden design. By the time of Napoleon III another replantation was required, one whose results wpuld prove sufficient for more than a hundered years: most of the trees destroyed by the storm of February 1990 had entered their second century.

The King's Garden, created in 1818. 


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