Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dans le Jardin

After completion in 1668, the gardens at the Palace of Versailles (by André Le Nôtre) became renowned throughout Europe. Models of the gardens together with french gardeners and french landscape architects became popular with the elite across the continent. It was into this atmosphere that famous landscape designer/gardeners Michel Le Bouteux and André Le Nôtre released their Plans et Dessins Nouveaux de Jardinage in c. 1680-1690.

The short volume with 109 pages of copper plate engravings (quite a few are double pages) provided garden plans, example fountains and structural elements over which the francophilic gardening set could drool. Many, if not all of the fountain illustrations were copied from Italian Agostino Ramelli's 16th century automata / water-engineering book.

Missouri Botanical Gardens' Rare Books Department have Plans et Dessins Nouveaux de Jardinage available in a fast, smart interface
. Another first class website.

1 comment :

George Goodall said...

I'm doing some Technorati searches and it seems that I keep on getting brought back here... Another great post.

One correction: I don't think the fountain designs are based on Ramelli's work; He was a military engineer and his designs depict either means of pumping water or means of breaking sieges. His famous bookwheel was really an exception.

A more likely source for the fountains is Salomon de Caus, whose books include automata, musical fountains, garden designs, and musical instruments.


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