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The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums Conference proceedings


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums Conference proceedings 14 — 17 November 2018 Curator — Vasily Pankratov Scientific curator — Elena Minkina Organising Committee: A. Alekseeva, S. Astakhovskaya, A. Kalinovskaya, Z. Necheporenko, J. Nikolaenko, N. Piliugina, E. Rogozina, A. Semenova, A. Yakobchuk Printed for: Gatchina Palace and Estate Museum 1, Krasnoarmeysky prospekt, Gatchina, Leningrad Region, 188300, Russia Printed at “Dom Tsveta” printing house Circulation: 100 copies

Bruno Bentz. The archaeology of gardens

Bruno Bentz PhD of archaeology, OMAGE

The archaeology of gardens Created in the wake of the development of archaeology of the modern period (16th-18th centuries), the archaeology of gardens has existed in France for almost forty years. Thus, during this period, most of the large estates were subject to archaeological research. However, it is necessary to specify the framework, within which this discipline should be considered, before showing the  main sectors, in which it has brought interesting results. Indeed, the idea that it is the excavations that define the use of archaeology must be dismissed from the outset. The means of intervention, such as excavation, have been constantly improved for several decades, thanks to the contribution of new technologies and to more detailed observations provided by stratigraphy, to such an extent that non-destructive techniques are gaining ground. If, as I believe, excavation is an often indispensable and sometimes necessary means of observation, it should only be considered for the benefit of a more general scientific objective of the study of a feature or an artifact, i.e. a result of human technology application; and gardens of course fall within this definition. Thus, we can describe as an archaeological approach the  garden renovation works carried out since the  beginning of  the  20th century in Vaux-le-Vicomte or later in Villandry, although there were no excavations. The main objective of this work was to restore the previous layout, which amounts to initiating a normal archaeological restitution procedure. However, as long as the study of gardens was based only on written or figurative documentation, in other words on  archives, the  research and reconstruction were not considered as an archaeological practice. Indeed, the development of the history of gardens has followed a way parallel to the archaeology of gardens. It is to be hoped that, from now on, a global approach will bring specialists together regardless of their sources — documentation or artefacts, archives or remains – as the study of gardens cannot do without either of them. Development of garden excavations is relatively recent because archaeology was first reserved for ancient ruins and then for prehistoric remains before gradually venturing into the  medieval period and finally into modern and contemporary times. When Professor Philippe Bruneau created a course in modern archaeology at the  Sorbonne University in 1978, he pursued two objectives to renew the  archaeological discipline.1 First of all, the situation demanded to extend chronological scale to the recent past. Indeed, the development of urban archaeology, driven 1 Philippe Bruneau and Pierre-Yves Balut, “Positions”, Revue d’archéologie moderne et d’archéologie générale (RAMAGE), n° 1, 1982, p. 3-33.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums by renovation projects in old city centres, and the consequent expansion of preventive archaeology has forced archaeologists to rediscover the remains of a modern layout. At the same time, the development of aerial archaeology, underwater archaeology and remote geophysical surveying, moving away from a chronological objective and towards a specific observation approach, has led to the  discovery of many sites of modern time. It was therefore in a favourable context of interest for the recent remains that I was able, from 1984, to propose archaeological excavations in the gardens of Marly and Versailles.2 The second objective is still to be justified: it is a question of proposing a general approach, i.e. anthropological one, where the  objectives of  archaeology are not  determined by  the  means of observation at our disposal, nor by  the  quality and quantity of the available documentation, but where they are supervised by human technical capacity. From this perspective, the analysis of the garden that we propose is not determined, however finely it may be, by the researcher’s tools but is governed by manufacturing processes and cultural structures in capacity of human techniques. This means that we can, that we must regard gardens like any industrial production and independently of  the  conservation of documentary sources or any material remains. This is how I recently proposed an archaeological study of the garden of the Hôtel de Retz in Paris,3 although it disappeared irrevocably during the construction of the colonnade of the Louvre! The archaeology of gardens has therefore appropriated the art of gardens. Archaeological questioning brings a certain rigour and methodology: restitution of the states of construction, dating, attribution, but also explanation or interpretation of the choices of layout, the materials used and the manufacturing processes. The  opposition between the  study of  archives and the  study of remains is only temporary. It is a matter of capabilities and distribution of tasks among researchers. Moreover for the modern period it is frequent, that work with various sources is carried out by the same person who sometimes becomes “palaeographer”, sometimes “stratigrapher”. Thus, the question of task distribution seems to be resolved. The  identification of decoration, the  dating of hydraulic lines, the  attribution of  parterres cannot be done with a single method, but with the  help of various clues which may come, according to the circumstances, from a handwritten note, a plan, an engraving or a book, and finally from a stratigraphic discovery or even more simply from the observation of the preserved site. Because in the end, archae2 Bruno Bentz, “Les fouilles modernes et contemporaines”, Revue d’archéologie moderne et d’archéologie générale (RAMAGE), n° 8, 1990, p. 17-39; “Fouilles d’époque moderne à Marly le Roi et à Versailles”, Proceedings of the Journées archéologiques historiques d’Ile de France, Enghien-les-Bains, May 1990, p. 104-107. 3 Bruno Bentz, “La grotte de Paris d’Albert de Gondi”, 2nd seminar, La Renaissance des grottes, nature, art et architecture entre Italie et France au XVIe siècle, Noisy-le-Roi, 2 November 2018 (to be published).


Bruno Bentz. The archaeology of gardens

ology, includes all sources and is equally interested in gardens that once existed and in those of the present day. What results are expected from the archaeology of gardens? The subject is difficult to define, but the most general definition of a garden is that of a confined space associated with a house. More generally, a garden is an outdoor area attached to a mansion. The  architecture of buildings is then systematically distinguished from environmental architecture (plants, hydraulics, landscape), although the establishment of one is necessarily linked to the  other and a garden pavilion, terrace or alley is part of both the building and the natural space. It is also difficult to mark a precise boundary between the garden and the park or forest, which may also be made by man. Nevertheless, the qualification of gardens for large estates is based on a permanent terminology that includes both the landscaped works and the work of the gardener, whether it is the designer or the worker in charge of its maintenance. It is actually a set of similar projects that we are dealing with when we study the gardens of Versailles, Chambord, Chantilly, Les Tuileries, etc. The garden is necessarily designed for various purposes, depending on the time, place and its owners. However, the analysis of its functions and uses begins with an understanding of a previously identified and restored garden. Archaeological study is a prerequisite for the historical analysis of a garden. For example, at Marly it is important to emphasize that the initial hydraulic network was autonomous, without any contribution from the waters of the Seine raised later by the Machine: thus, the grandes eaux of Marly and in particular its waterfalls were not foreseen when Louis XIV chose the site. There is another example – the incredible decoration of the ponds covered with tin-glazed tiles, created in 1712, attest to the fact that there was a decorative renewal in the gardens of Marly after the death of Jules Hardouin-Mansart. These observations are based on various modalities of the garden industry that can be analysed separately as divided into five spheres. - Traditionally, archaeology has been interested in building structures. In gardens important places are occupied by ponds, courtyards, paved paths and various structures. Thus, during the excavation of the bosquet d’Encelade in Versailles in 1990, the foundations of the latticework that surrounded the central basin were discovered. The stone bases still kept track of the metal posts that precisely delineated the way of the green tunnel, providing essential clues for the reconstruction of  the  latticework shortly afterwards. In Chantilly, it was the  basis of  a plot for of the Jeu de l’oie (the goose game) that was rediscovered by Jean-Louis Bernard in 2012 and used to recreate the  journey of this outdoor game.4 In  these examples, the remains complement the documentation that was essential for the dating Jean-Louis Bernard, Christian David and Cécile Travers, “Archéologie et histoire d’une attraction ludique de plein air du XVIIIe siècle. Le jeu de l’Oie grandeur nature du Petit Parc de Chantilly”, Archéopages, n° 37, April 2013. URL: 4


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums of the structures, but not detailed enough to reconstruct their exact configuration. - It is also common for excavations to enrich the knowledge of the decoration if  restoration or reconstruction is not always possible. The  tiling of  the  Marly ponds was restored thanks to the excavations carried out in 1934 and completed in 1985. The  basins of  the  fountains of  the  Labyrinthe  grove in Versailles were discovered by Annick Heitzmann in 20085; the blocks of marble for the Marly waterfall were found in 1988-1989 and those of the great Rivière waterfall — in 20146. The information about the materials and the knowledge of their origin and their implementation were deepened with the discovery of these remains whose authenticity and original appearance had been preserved rather paradoxically by  their demolition. Thus the rockeries, shells, painted and gilded plasters, carved stones from the Noisy grotto found in 2017 illustrate fragile decoration rarely preserved in its original state7. -  Hydraulics was very often integrated into gardens for the  installation of  all kinds of fountains. A large part of the water supply and drainage systems was underground and therefore benefited from good conservation. On the other hand, pipes (lead, cast iron), valves and pumps often disappeared. In Versailles and Marly, but also in Fontainebleau and Saint-Cloud, discoveries are abundant and they are usefully complemented by systematic search for underground structures, which are often abandoned, but whose traces can be found. Sometimes excavations are necessary, sometimes the exploration of the land allows to identify abandoned structures as in Meudon where Jean Ménard found and restored old ditches and old water tunnels8. - Some aspects are still underdeveloped. This is the case of topographic analysis, the study of the earthworks and geotechnical constraints, which have shaped sites that are often large in size. Anne Allimant-Verdillon showed by an example of the Tuileries gardens in Paris in 2012, how Le Nôtre had modified the ground to protect it from floods of the Seine9. The recently restored bosquets have thus benefited from this archaeological approach that pays attention to details. Gen5 Catherine Dupont, “Coquillages et coquilles au château de Versailles aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles: entre repas et rocailles de fontaines”, Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, 2017. URL: 6 Annick Heitzmann, “Archéologie à Marly: bilan et perspectives”, Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, 2013. URL:; Géraldine Chopin and Annick Heitzmann (dir.), La vie retrouvée à Marly et à Versailles, 25 ans d’archéologie royale, MuséePromenade, Marly-le-Roi, 2016. 7 Bruno Bentz, “Le décor de la grotte de Noisy: résultat des fouilles de 2017”, 1st seminar La Renaissance des grottes, Villa Médicis de Castello, Florence (Italie), 22 February 2018; Opus Incertum (à paraître). 8 Jean Menard, Le réseau hydraulique du domaine royal de Meudon: 331 ans d’histoire, 10 années de restauration, Arhyme 2003-2013, Meudon, ed. Le taureau volant, 2013. 9 Anne Allimant-Verdillon, “Le jardin des Tuileries. Le génie de Le Nôtre”, Dossiers d’archéologie, № 375, May 2016, p. 52-55.


Bruno Bentz. The archaeology of gardens

erally speaking, the constraints of  the  garden are numerous: drainage, traffic, exposure to light and wind, soils. Archaeology makes it possible to understand the reasons for choosing a site and the work done to adapt a garden to natural conditions. - Finally, the  study of garden vegetation is an aspect that is often ignored or poorly documented. However, it is an essential characteristic of  the  layout of a garden, whose arrangements are structured by wooded or herbaceous plantations in coppices, alignments, lawns and flowerbeds. The  soil study makes it possible to isolate former locations of old trees and identify plant species. At Chambord, the flower beds of the garden created around 1730 were restored after a major excavation programme carried out in 2016 by Simon Bryant and Cécile Travers10. The platform bordered by a canal to the north of the palace has thus been able to regain its old level and the alignment of the original plantations. These examples illustrate the many spheres of garden design study: masonry, decoration, hydraulics, earthworks, and botany. In all cases, the archaeology of gardens relies on both documentary and ground data to record previous conditions. Archaeological research is sometimes carried out only for the purpose of analysis (programmed archaeology); however, the  rediscovery of gardens is often a prerequisite for restoration work (preventive archaeology). This problem is not really new since the  alignments and the  layout of some ponds at Marly had been restored in 1932 from the  remains identified in  the  ground or thanks to aerial photographs specially taken for this purpose. However, it was in Versailles, after a devastating storm in 1990, that the  replanting and recreation of several missing groves was planned, for which archaeological excavations were systematically undertaken. The other large gardens have also received special attention for their remains11: Trianon, Fontainebleau, Chambord, Les Tuileries, Saint-Cloud, SaintGermain-en-Laye, Chantilly, etc. From now on, whether it is a question of renovating a garden, restoring it to its original state or reconstructing it when the archives are insufficient, archaeological study is essential. It contributes to preserving the remains as much as to validating or improving the project. Sometimes, the discoveries are important, but the choice of renovation options is not always limited to restoration of an older layout: in Versailles, the Labyrinthe was not restored because the bosquet de la Reine was not 10 Simon Bryant et Cécile Travers, “Ni fait, ni à faire: Chambord, un château à choix multiples”, Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, 2017, URL: crcv/14356. 11 Annick Heitzmann (dir.), “25 années d’archéologie royale (1990-2015)”, proceedings of the conference organised from 6 to 8 October 2016 at the Château de Versailles, Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles. URL:


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums changed, while a contemporary creation substituted the bosquet du Théâtre d’eau despite the  discovery of  the  remains of  the  fountain. Similarly, in Marly the  excavations made it possible to better understand the  initial state of  many ponds without undertaking a reconstruction project. Thus, the  archaeology of gardens remains a scientific discipline that provides expertise on the subject of gardens. Its results express a continuing enriched knowledge, sometimes criticized or renewed, which can provide a basis for restoration work. However, archaeology cannot make the decision on conservation and enhancement, which is the responsibility of  the  owners, museums or cultural establishments responsible for the  maintenance of gardens, which may be challenged or supported by associations or specialized institutions.


Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa. The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens

Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa

The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens In Liguria, a region of the north-western Italy, since ancient times the landscape systems with villas and gardens have structured the territory as strategic elements between agricultural lands. A real network of villas, gardens and adjoining agricultural areas constituted a  recognizable element of the  territorial organization with a systematic control of rural properties. For centuries a surprising number of villas and gardens has connoted the landscape of the great city of Genoa, which has been admired by travelers, Italian and foreign artists, who have described the fundamental role of connotation of the image. Abbeys, churches and priories were the first centers of transformation and recovery of the agricultural space in the Middle Ages. In the fifteenth century the villas became numerous and formed the fundamental matrix of the  landscape system, which reached maturity in 1600, especially at the Albaro hill and in the plain of Sampierdarena. Sampierdarena was in the past a small village to the west of the city of Genoa, and now its waterfront is occupied by an immense commercial port. The suburban and coastal systems of villas with gardens were described by Agostino Giustiniani in the 16th Century: “Le case dei Cittadini con li giardini e le ville loro son magnifiche et in tanto numero, che accade ai forestieri quali passano per S. Pier d’Arena quello che accadeva agli antichi, sendo in S. Pier d’Arena si credono essere in Genoa, e certo la magnificenza di questi edificii, e l’amenità dei giardini insieme con quelli dell’altre ville convicine alla Città, hanno fatto scrivere al Petrarcha che la beltà e la superba edificazione delle case di Genoa è stata vinta e superata dalle fabbriche delle sue ville”.1 As early as in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the seaside village of Sampierdarena was chosen by the bourgeoisie and the mercantile class as a suitable place for construction of suburban residences because of its proximity to the city. In the  sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it became one of the  most famous Italian holiday resorts, demonstrating the magnificence of the mercantile oligarchy, due to the  concentration and singularity of the  villas-gardens 1 In Giustiniani A. (1537), Castigatissimi Annali con la loro copiosa tavola della Eccelsa e illustrissima Repubblica di Genova, Genova, cc. I-XXII “The houses of the citizens with their gardens and villas are magnificent and numerous, so that foreigners, as they pass through S. Pier d’Arena, make the same mistakes as the ancients — being in S. Pier d’Arena they believe they are in Genoa. Certainly the magnificence of these buildings, and the amenity of the gardens together with those of the other villas near the city made Petrarcha write that the beauty and the superb construction of the houses of Genoa was achived and surpassed by the construction of its villas.”


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums complexes. The families were grouped in the  city center and the  properties were concentrated in the same area: the Grimaldi settled in the central-eastern area, the Spinola, the Doria and the Centurione — in the western area, the Pallavicini — in the eastern area. The plans of 1757 and 1773 show that the cartographer Matteo Vinzoni, a native of Levanto, designed a settlement structure with (fig. 1):

Fig. 1. M. Vinzoni, Il Dominio della Serenissima Repubblica di Genova in terraferma, 1773, in anastatic copy, Novara 1959 (Sampierdarena)

- a succession of gardens, vegetable gardens, vineyards, orchards, and forests from the lower hills to the higher ones; - towers near the villas; - “villa palaces” with features similar to those of the “city buildings” according to the models introduced by Galeazzo Alessi; - terraced gardens set on a main axis determined by the position of the building, in the  most important complexes preceded by a square, a courtyard of honor, or a representative garden (Imperiale Scassi, Spinola di San Pietro, Pallavicino); - flat gardens enclosed by walls with a regular planimetric layout that was adapted to the formation of the land lots behind the terraced houses of the seaside village. Giustiniani wrote about the suburban hill systems of Albaro, a village to the east of the historic city and a prestigious residential area of the time: “Et a man manca di S. Fruttuoso e di S. Martino giace la magnifica et amena villa di Albaro, quale è in lunghezza circa doa miglia, e comprende cento quaranta quatro quaranta sei di contadini, et il restante de Cittadini, che tutte hanno fruttifere et amene ville, tal che è cittadino che ha in la sua villa pere di ventidue specie. Sono


Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa. The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens

queste ville dottate di domestico, di salvatico, di acque, di are per uccellare, tutte murate in cerco e la struttura delle magnifiche è superbissima”.2 The Albaro hill, separated from the  city by the  Bisagno stream, lies between the mouth of the latter and the Sturla. It is crossed by narrow valleys perpendicular to the coast and extends up the slope of the church of San Pietro in the Foce area and behind the cliff of Vernazzola. In the Middle Ages along the ridge paths that descend to the sea there were built rural churches and convents (San Bernardo, Santa Chiara, San Luca, Santa Maria del Prato, San Martino, San Nazaro, San Vito). For example, the villa of doge Simone Boccanegra was built in Viale Causa and consisted of a complex of two “palaces” with a square, a courtyard and other service buildings. Nearby there was the church of San Martino and numerous villas of the Camilla family who had founded the church of Santa Maria del Prato and Santa Chiara in the 12th century. (fig. 2)

Fig. 2. M. Poggi, Detail of the planimetry of Genova and Comuni annessi: Albaro Hill, 1898

In the eighteenth century the diffusion of the villas took on particular importance in the suburbs farthest from the city center, in Nervi and in Voltri, but also continued inside and outside the historic walls. The gardens were modified compared to previous centuries through the introduction of: 2 Ibidem. “And to the southwest of S. Fruttuoso and S. Martino lies the magnificent and pleasant villa of Albaro, which is about two miles in length, and hosts one hundred and forty four — forty six peasants, and the remains of Citadines. All have orchards and pleasant villas, there is even a citizen who has in his villa twenty-two species of pears. There are villas of domestic servants, of wild animals, of water, of plots for birds, all walled in circles, and their structure is magnificent and superb.”


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums - a more complex planimetric layout and spatial organization; - more monumental characters; - groups of statues along the avenues (villa Durazzo in Cornigliano), on the balustrades of the  terraces and stairways (villa Lomellini-Rostan a Multedo), and on the terminal cornices (villa Di Negro “dello Scoglietto”); -  French style “parterres” (Villa del Principe in Fassolo, Villa Doria in Pegli, Villa Durazzo in Cornigliano). Also some of these examples are described by foreign travelers; so the explorer Fynes Moryson in the first half of 1600 described the villa of Principe D’Oria: “Mentre ci si avvia dentro la città e prima di entrarne alle porte c’è il suntuoso palazzo di Andrea D’Auria. L’edificio stesso, il giardini, le scale digradanti al mare, la sala dei banchetti e diverse pinacoteche sono di una magnificenza regale. Non lungi di lì, ad una parete c’è una statua eretta ad Andrea D’Auria, l’ora defunto ammiraglio della flotta spagnola (…) In persona vidi il palazzo di Gian Battista D’Auria la cui dimora era assai maestosa e il giardino non solo assai piacevole ma adorno di statue e fontane”.3 The park of the villa of the Principe in Fassolo was divided into two parts, one opened towards the sea with a personal pier near the port of Genoa and the upper garden was divided into a succession of spaces consisting of terraced gardens, connected to terraces with agricultural crops. Emerging architectural elements (buildings, ramps, stairs) served as visual reference points. In the late 1700s Charles Dupaty wrote about the landscape garden and the estate of Multedo: “Signor Lomellini, che è un piacevole e rispettabile vecchio (….) A volte lo si trova nel suo palazzo assieme ai contadini che vi entrano disgraziati e ne escono felici, a volte lo si vede sui prati, con il canto degli uccelli, nel silenzio dei boschi, nel mormorio delle fontane, mentre si gode una bella giornata di primavera, o in una tranquilla sera d’estate o un’ora bella d’inverno. Spesso, in un boschetto, solo e ritirato in un tempietto di marmo, gli piace contemplare, tra le foglie e le colonne, il mare devastato dalla burrasca”.4 3 Moryson F. (1615), An itinerary, in Marcenaro G. (1979), Viaggio in Liguria, Genova. “As you head into the city, before entering the gates you see a sumptuous palace of Andrea D’Auria. The building itself, the gardens, the sloping stairs to the sea, the banquet hall and various picture galleries are of royal magnificence. Not far from there, on one wall there is a statue erected to honour Andrea D’Auria, the now deceased admiral of the Spanish fleet. (...)I personally saw the palace of Gian Battista D’Auria whose mansion was very majestic and the garden was not only very pleasant but adorned with statues and fountains.” 4 Dupaty C. (1796), Lettres sur l’Italie, Lausanne. “…Signor Lomellini, who is a pleasant and respectable old man (...) Sometimes he can be found in his palace together with the peasants who enter it wretched and come out happy, sometimes you see him on the lawns, with the birds singing, in the silence of the woods, or by murmuring fountains, enjoying a beautiful spring day, or a quiet summer evening or a beautiful winter hour. Often, in a grove, alone and withdrawn in a marble temple, he likes to contemplate, surrounded by leaves and columns, near the sea ravaged by a storm.”


Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa. The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens

During the 1800s the  meaning of the  villas changed radically: urban growth has  led to elimination of many elements of landscape systems, as empty spaces were occupied by buildings. Only some elements of the  ancient landscape are still recognizable, often the surviving gardens are the most important references to the part in the densely built landscape, where they have acquired a new strategic role of “green lungs” of the city. Between 1800 and 1900 there was a radical transformation of the urban landscape, which in a few decades changed the centuries-old equilibrium of the villa system, and the construction of the first industrial establishments of 1800 brought the end of a secular agricultural economy. With the advent of the industrial age the system of villas with urban and suburban gardens underwent complete transformation; in many cases the loss of gardens has been considerable, the  destruction of the  context and the  continuity of the landscape with the surrounding territory has deprived the architectural elements of their significance and even demoted them. Among the examples of the hinterland of Genoa is the villa of Principe D’Oria, which remains in the former suburb of Fassolo, today the central area of the city, although now the villa is deprived of the upper garden and is inserted in a very degraded context. In Sampierdarena the  whole system of suburban hillside villas connected to the sea has been destoyed by the massive internal urbanization and industrial development on the coast. In Multedo the villa Lomellini Rostan, one of the most significant examples of English gardens in Liguria, has been transformed into a football field. The contemporary situation is characterized by a mixture of lights and shadows. In Genoa there are many public historical parks, which once were residences of the most important families but later were sold to the city, but this apparently positive fact deprives the parks of constant appropriate care due to the lack of funding. On the other hand, there are also emblematic cases of good conservation practices, such as the parks of the villas Serra a Sant’Olcese and Durazzo Pallavicini in Pegli (fig. 3), where the new system of private management of public property provides good results. In contemporary times a historical park represents an asset with a great cultural and collective value, it is comparable to a monument, but unlike other ancient objects it is subject to major changes due to the presence of vegetation regulated by a life cycle similar to that of a living being. So for the conservation program of a historical park it is necessary to introduce the concept of maintenance over time with a preventive replacement of the  plant elements to avoid destruction of the asset and its loss as a consequence of deterioration of the plant structure.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Fig. 3. The lake in the park of the villa Durazzo Pallavicini in Pegli,

From this point of view the interventions in the parks of Villa Serra and Villa Pallavicini are examples of intelligent and innovative restoration, in compliance with the canons of the Florence Charter on the restoration of historic gardens (1981). In these parks, a conservation program closely linked to the maintenance phase has been implemented since the preliminary design. The park Durazzo Pallavicini represents the most articulate example of romantic design inspired by the widespread English fashion of the time; it was built between 1840 and 1846 by the will of Marquis Ignazio Alessandro Pallavicini, according to the design and directions of Michele Canzio, architect and set designer of the Carlo Felice theater in Genoa. Part of the agricultural land received as a legacy by Aunt Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi was used for the construction of the park. This prominent botanist of late eighteenth century set up a small, but prestigious botanical garden on his property in Pegli. The romantic scene park runs along the main path on a particularly steep terrain with a layout corresponding to a fairytale representation with philosophical meanings of Masonic matrix. The park is presented as a sequence of scenes always composed of one or more buildings placed in a space with suitable expressive vegetation as well as with streams, ponds and caves that create naturalistic atmosphere. In the same years, the historic botanical garden of Clelia Durazzo was restructured: the site was turned into flat terraces and two new stone greenhouses were built. The park remained property of Pallavicini’s heirs until 1928, when Princess Matilde Giustiniani donated the entire property to the Municipality of Genoa with the obligation to preserve the landscape in its original condition, to allocate it for public use and to reserve the building for cultural purposes (now the Ligu-


Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa. The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens

rian Archeological Museum). The park was never completely open for the public: at the time of the donation the highest area (134 meters above sea level), where the castle is located, was already closed. With the expansion of the industrial city, the park of Villa Pallavicini has been preserved from the transformations, probably due to a 360-meter-long avenue at the entrance, which made accessibility difficult, and due to its impervious orography. In 1992 the  lower part of the  park was restored, according to Acts I and III of the theater scene, with the objectives of rediscovering the original composition, its theatrical-philosophical functioning, the  complexity of relationships between vegetation and elements of the  garden. Another objective was to bring the park back to its ideal state with the use of approptiate solutions, taking into account the  transformations of the  surrounding landscape that was originally fully integrated into the garden scenarios. After the initial success the park has returned to a state of decay due to the lack of unified management. In 2002 a part of the botanical garden of Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi was restored and in 2004 a new greenhouse for aquatic plants was constructed with European funds. Today a new era has begun: the  Municipality of Genoa, aware of the need for a different type of maintenance of this cultural and historical object as well as a very important asset for the city, has entrusted, through a public tender, the management, maintenance and promotion of events within the complex to a temporary group of companies. After some maintenance work, which mainly concerned the upper part and was significant for the narrative continuity of the whole, for the pine forest and the Mediterranean shrubs and for  the  presence of interesting garden architecture in neo-gothic style, the  park was reopened to the public on September 23, 2016, winning “The most beautiful park in Italy” award in the public parks category in 2017. The history of the Villa Serra park began when the Marquis Orso Serra bought the entire complex, including a seventeenth century palace and some houses used by the  Pinelli family. In 1851 Orso Serra with Marquis Carlo Cusani, landscape designer and painter, and the  nobleman Stefano Ludovico Pallavicino, patron of  the  Fine Arts Academy, went to London with the  purpose to later transform the Comago complex into an English park according to the dictates of the fashionable Anglo-Saxon culture. There he gathered technical and artistic information for the realization. An example of the results is a Tudor style building, whose design recalls the garden cottage in the Encyclopaedia of cottage, farm and villa architecture by Loudon (1846). The  park was built, radically changing the  agricultural territory and transforming the landscape of the valley of the Rio Comago, with the  insertion in its center of a lake of 6,000 square meters with waterfalls and torrents of  water, and dozens of rare and exotic tree species to create adequate scenic background. Even the  existing buildings were transformed according to the dictates of the landscape park into a medieval house with a tower and


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums a cottage. Since 1938, when the  last Serra heir left the  assets to Genoa Curia, the Comago complex was semi-abandoned. In 1981 the complex was purchased by a Consortium of the Municipalities of Sant’Olcese, Serra Riccò and Genoa. About ten years later, the Consortium with the help of European funding restored twothirds of the  property with particular attention to the  surface water system and the tree planting and planned the delicate and fundamental phase of subsequent maintenance, entrusting it to a cooperative. The new uses compatible with the historical context have been chosen for the buildings with the aim of securing a revenue for the park maintenance and for the Consortium. In 2001 the villa Tudor and the  Pinelli palace were reopened, and in 2004 were opened the  old stables with the  neogothic tower — today there is a small hotel and a restaurant. With the new resources, generated through the admission ticket selling, the following innovations have been implemented: construction of a playground and pic-nic lot nearby, arranging of summer shows, planned replacement of the tree heritage and renewal of technical equipment. Several years ago an association named “Amici di Villa Serra” was formed to  help a dozen of regular employees. It collaborates with the management providing personal surveillance for the weekends and during the events, as well as assisting with carpentry and iron work. Over the years the level of general maintenance has been standardized as much as possible, but proper maintenance was achived only in less steep areas, where more employees are ivolved and it is possible to use mechanical tools, while in inaccessible parts or on the margins the lack of personnel allows maintenance operations only on an annual or two-year basis. At the same time there is the need to implement initiatives that attract new interest to the park, while respecting considerable historical and environmental constraints. Until now, the users have been mainly local, but recently several events and initiatives of national level arose new interest in the park, for example creation of a hydrangeas collection — its blooms accentuate the entire summer period — and an exhibition of nursery-collectors market every first weekend of June. Moreover, thanks to collaboration with the Film Commission of the Municipality of Genoa, the park and the villa provided place for several film and photographic sets. The villa Serra model has been effective, but it is not exportable in its entirety. The  year 2018 is marked with the  attempts of conservative restoration and reconstruction of the original parterre in front of the Villa Duchessa di Galliera in Voltri and innovative reopening of the nineteenth-century parks of Nervi with the contemporary addition of international floral exhibition “Euroflora 2018”. One of the first events was the opening of floral medallions in the formal garden in front of the villa on May 26, 2018. They were made using the method of mosaics similar to those desired by the Duchess of Galliera in 1880, according to the Victorian model fashionable at that time, designed by the artist Giuseppe Rovelli.


Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa. The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens

Fig. 4. Parchi di Nervi,

On the other hand, it is interesting to historically contextualize the  parks of Nervi, which used to be a suburban locality to the west of Genoa and which today became a part of residential area of the metropolitan city. The coast of Nervi features a system of villas-gardens as described in the seventeenth century by Gio. Antonio Mangini and Ippolito Landinelli: “Vi allignano molto bene ogni sorte di frutti, di cedri, di limoni et aranzi e vi si vedono rose e carcioffoli abbondantemente tutto l’inverno con altri fiori de tutte le sorti massimamente in quella parte verso levante vicino a Genova ove si dice la costa de Nervi”.5 Until 1950 the sea promenade from the Porticciolo to Capolungo was flanked by a succession of nineteenth-century parks (Croce, Groppallo, Serra, Grimaldi, Luxoro, Councilor), which extended to the north as far as the Roman road. Three of them — the adjacent parks of Serra, Groppallo and Grimaldi (fig. 4) — are now owned by the Municipality of Genoa and are open for public use. Their landscape structure is characterized by: Mangini G. A., Landinelli I. (1614), Descrittione del dominio della serenissima Repubblica di Genova fatta l’anno 1614, Archivio Storico Comune di Genova, ms. Brignole Sale, n.110bis E15, cc 360-367. “All sorts of fruit trees, of citrons, lemons and oranges, are allotted very well and you can admire roses and artichokes abundantly throughout the winter with other flowers of all sorts in the part towards the east of Genoa where it is called the coast of Nervi.”



The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Fig. 5. Parchi di Nervi during Euroflora 2018, P. Burlando

- sinuous avenues that cross the ground surfaces modeled through earth works to expand the space and to enhance the panoramic views of the villas and the rear hill of Sant’Ilario; - wide lawns that extend in front of the buildings and continue up to the perimeter avenues along the railway line; - vegetal wing stuctures on the edges of the turf and along the boundary walls, which vary depending on different visual effects. The groups of pines, palms, cypresses, false camphors, and carobs alternate along the margins of the grassy expanses and form the succession of visual planes that follow each other with continuous variations, increase the  width and the  visual depth and create multiple scenographies visible from a single point of observation. The so-called Parks of Nervi (Serra, Groppallo and Grimaldi) in 2018 became the headquarters of the Euroflora international exhibition (fig. 5), which brought more than 280,000 people to Genoa in just 10 days. For this event, which previously had always been realized in the historic pavilions of the sea fair in the center of Genoa, a new rigorous planning approach was used showing respect to the historical ground. It was aimed at harmonizing the specimens of the existing tree heritage with the plants of the participating nursery gardeners, the great plant sceneries and the colorful blooms — with the new European trends in the field of large floral expositions. The extraordinary financing of the event made possible mul-


Patrizia Burlando, Professor, The University of Genoa. The ‘Grande Genova’ and its gardens

tiple activities aimed at improving the Parks: creation of a new walkway between the parks Gropallo and Serra, repaving of many paths, installation of new irrigation and video surveillance systems, construction of an electricity distribution network, and redevelopment and mulching of the  Villa Grimaldi rose garden, additional maintenance of some artifacts, restoration of the water chain in the Serra park, reconstruction of the anti-trauma flooring and maintenance of the game lots in Villa Serra, considerable new furnishings, tests of the stability of historic trees, elimination of stumps, works to recover tree heritage, some works to improve the soil and planting of compatible tree species. During the event, the turfgrasses underwent considerable wear, but immediately after the event the following works were carried out: a new irrigation system and lawns were created, the surface of the ground was repaired and new grass seeds were sown. In this case, one wonders whether it  is better to arrange mass events to raise awareness of such an important historical and cultural heritage as well as the landscape element or to stick to strict conservation as envisaged by the idea of restoration of historical gardens?

References • Calcagno Maniglio A. (1984), Giardini, parchi e paesaggio nella Genova dell’Ottocento, Genova • Calcagno Maniglio A. (1983), Architettura del paesaggio. Evoluzione storica, Bologna • Calvi F., Ghigino S., (1998), Villa Pallavicini a Pegli. L’opera romantica di Michele Canzio, Genova • Dupaty C. (1796), Lettres sur l’Italie, Lausanne • Ghigino S., (2018), Il parco nascosto, Villa Pallavicini a Pegli, Genova • Magnani L. (1987), Il tempio di Venere. Giardino e villa nella cultura genovese, Genova • Giustiniani A. (1537), Castigatissimi Annali con la loro copiosa tavola della Eccelsa e illustrissima Repubblica di Genova, Genova, cc. I-XXII • Loudon J. C., (1846), Enciclopedia of cottage, farm and villa architecture, London • Mangini G. A., Landinelli I. (1614), Descrittione del dominio della serenissima Repubblica di Genova fatta l’anno 1614, Archivio Storico Comune di Genova, ms. Brignole Sale, n.110bis E15, cc 360-367 • Marcenaro G. (1979), Viaggio in Liguria, Genova • Marchi P. (ed) (1984-1987), Le ville del Genovesato, Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova • Mazzino F. (ed) (2006), Giardini storici della Liguria. Conoscenza, conservazione, restauro, Genova • Mazzino F., Burlando P., (2016), Rediscovered Landscapes, Experiences of Landscape Architecture, Bologna • Mazzino F. (ed) (2016), Atlante dei Giardini Storici della Liguria, Un progetto di valorizzazione culturale del territorio, Genova • •


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Véronique Ciampini, operations Leader, Public Institution of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles

Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years. A committed campaign The gardens have always played an important role in the royal project of Versailles. Some of them are considered as masterpieces of French gardens of the 17th century. Others form a complex ensemble of key elements of English gardens of the 18th century. So we have to plan how to transmit this heritage the best way possible. Even if we have thought over a program, defined priorities, execution strategies and the project’s costs, each garden requires a specific approach with a variety of methods, as I’ll try to explain it using four cases.

I. The main focus areas of the gardens’ restoration master plan

This master plan must take into account the principles of different styles of gardens. In the case of the French gardens of the 17th century, one of our priorities is to maintain great perspectives as well as fountains, groves called Bosquets and the Great Orangery. Why is it so important? Because the gardens of Versailles were created by Louis XIV to show that he was one of the most powerful kings. Until his death he personally supervised their design and wanted to see “every detail” beforehand. The longest perspective tends to infinity as the kingdom of Louis XIV. The Great Canal and fountains refer to his power all over the seas. The Great Orangery, one of the largest in the world, shows how he could also bring back and adapt to local conditions precious and rare exotic plants. Louis XIV and his master gardener André Le Nôtre created gardens where the order of elements reflected the order of society imposed by the king. Louis XIV wrote himself a visitor’s guide book, explaining the way of presenting the gardens of Versailles, which could be read as a true royal decree. These directions allow us to discover Bosquets and Salles de verdure (green rooms) where many private festive events took place including stagings of Molière’s pieces or concerts of Lully’s music. Each Bosquet was created with a specific decor made of architectural follies, fountains, sculptures, rocailles (shellworks), trellis and plants. Nowadays we also have to maintain this surprise effects along the walk of our visitors. The gardens tell us a lot about this period of French history and provide a way to understand it. Political powers of later decades did not alter the initial project: great perspectives, the Great Canal, the Great Orangery, fountains and waterfalls. They survived


Véronique Ciampini. Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years

through centuries up till now as they were placed along the royal axis of the palace. The palace and the spectacular garden waterfalls still remain the prestigious background for the greatest official visits. This is why President Macron welcomed President Poutine to Versailles in May 2017. The trends in the art of gardens, mainly the fashion of the 18th century to create landscaped gardens, manifested in several parts of the estate. Green rooms of some Bosquets offered various types of scenery, and the English garden in the Trianon gardens replaced Jussieu’s botanical garden of the 17th century. Versailles, therefore, must continue to exemplify this evolution. At the  end of  the  20th century, two storms destroyed most of  the  Versailles plantations, toppling thousands of trees, for example, about ten thousand trees in the alleys of the park. Pierre-André Lablaude, Head Architect of Historical Monuments, defined in his master plan of 1990 the main focus areas of restoration. This master plan has been used for over thirty years. Two historical reference states were thus chosen for the program. The first historical reference state concerns the general composition of the palace gardens and the year 1700 was chosen as representing André Le Nôtre’s work at its best and providing an example of the garden art style à la Française. The  second historical reference state is the  Petit Trianon gardens. The  à l’Anglaise composition of the 18th century, ordered by Queen Marie-Antoinette, is a remarkable achievement and an excellent example of landscaped gardening. It tells us about the vision of that time concerning the relationship between Man and Nature.

II. First case: Latona Fountain and Parterre restoration

As Louis XIV wrote in The way to present the gardens of Versailles: “You must then go straight up above the Latona fountain and pause to consider it – the lizards, the ramps, the statues, the royal walk, Apollo, the canal – then turn to see the parterre and the palace.” The Latona Fountain, rich with lead and sculpted marble decoration and waterfalls, is probably the most famous masterpiece in the gardens of Versailles. Located at the center of the Grand Perspective, it marks the beginning of the Royal Walk with its two parterres leading to the Apollo Fountain. Over three centuries after it was built, its restoration became imperative. Work on its infrastructure, marbles, hydraulics and sculptered decorations was urgently needed. The restoration work on the Latona Fountain and Parterre was carried out by Pierre-André Lablaude, Head Architect of Historical Monuments. The scientific restoration began with a preliminary study:


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums 1. Search of all written and iconographic sources allowing us to document the story of the monument or the garden. 2. Estimation of the present condition, for example, the plantation inventory or account of the sanitary state of stones and marbles, fountain pipes and sculpted groups. 3. Development of different restoring options. As I have mentioned, our historical reference state for this part of the gardens was the year 1700. Although the Latona Parterre was changed into a flowered bed in the 19th century, it was turned back into a carpet grass parterre, typical of André Le Nôtre’s drawings. By recreating the  appearance of  the  Latona Parterre, we restored the  original design of the “King’s gardener”. And the restoration coincided with the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre, which was celebrated in 2013. It is of course advisable to maintain the central water buffet (pyramidal structure) designed by Hardouin-Mansart, the famous architect, even if he acted after Le Nôtre at the end of the 17th century. The Latona pyramid is formed by four oval layers covered with red and white marble. Each of the fountain layers forms a basin containing a series of lead frogs, which in the lower basin are complemented with figures undergoing metamorphosis. At the top, the statue of Latona with her children, Apollo and Diana, the work of  the  brothers Gaspard and Balthazar Marsy, dominates the  composition and looks towards the  Great Canal. At the  base of  the  pyramid and around it there are  turtles and lizards emerging from water, symbolizing the  peasants punished by Jupiter. Several serious challenges arose during the work implementation. For example, it was absolutely important to reach the  three concentric rings of  lead piping and the  original clay dressing under the  water buffet structure housed in a vaulted underground chamber. The  clay dressing did not anymore serve as a waterproof coating for the bottom of the first basin designed by Le Nôtre. The  pipes, meant to be restored because they had leaks, represent the  heart of Versailles hydraulic system. From the upstream historic reservoirs this piping feeds the 74 waterfalls of the Latona fountain system as well as its underground galleries, supplying numerous downstream fountains in the Versailles gardens. It was therefore essential to take all marbles, sculpted figures, fontainerie elements and stones apart piece by piece. All elements had to be disassembled and craned out in order to be restored. It is rarely done in architectural restoration, but it was the only option here for the renovation of each part. A serious inventory was necessary, requiring special methodology, cost and delivery schedule. Thanks to our partner involved in a mission to transmit expertise we could take


Véronique Ciampini. Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years

into account all these characteristics. Some skills were very specific, for example lead soldering or Taxus clipping. Our teams of fontainiers (hydraulic engineers) and gardeners used that highly traditional know-how. They had to work side by side with outside companies and it was also a special deal. These companies had to follow our education policy and program of support for training in arts and crafts such as gilding, woodworking, embroidery, marble and metal work. Some young workers had to be trained to learn historic knowhow; special events were organized with schools or our visitors. A belvedere was built around the work site so that visitors could follow the work throughout the period of restoration.

III. Second case: Three Fountains Bosquet restitution

The Bosquet des Trois Fontaines takes its name from the three ornamental basins with waterfalls and rocailles (shells, sandstones and millstones decors), enclosed in a trellised palissade. This Bosquet is a symbol of  the  Versailles waterfalls system and one of Louis XIV’s favorite green rooms. It was designed by Le Nôtre but a plan preserved in the library of the Palace includes also the notation “by the King’s design”. This Bosquet was neglected in the 18th century and disappeared in the 19th century. Some archeological remains were found. In 2000, a proposal was presented to Versailles Establishment to fund its revival. One may object to such an expensive revival, but four reasons were put forward: – written and archeological sources are plentiful and trustable; – ancient techniques could be tried and applied without damaging historical heritage. Ancient red marble and sandstone carriers were re-opened. It was then possible to put to use certain materials and revive techniques of art and craftsmanship trades. Numerous skills for hand cut millstones or lead soldering for piping were used for the fountains decor; – these techniques could be passed to young members of  the  French Guild of Companions. Such experiments could then be a point of reference for all further restorations; – the French know-how for historical monuments could be better advertised. Through our trustees this restitution was highly publicized and helped to acknowledge the  richness of Versailles heritage. It was also further used to sustain programs of the gardens restoration.

IV. Third case: Water Theatre Bosquet contemporary creation

The Bosquet, created by Le Nôtre in  the  17th century, also disappeared in  the  18th century. The  grove was originally designed as a theatre of green-


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums ery. It was the  archetypal Baroque setting with the  use of traditional materials: rocailles, topiary and water at the  heart of  the  scenery, cleverly designed by  the  fountain engineers Francine and Denis. Its sculpted decoration was the work of Le Brun and Lepautre. The  design changed in  the  18th century but the  new layout was destroyed by the storm of 1999. Some archeological remains were found. In this case, it took time to develop the roadmap because numerous sculptures had been dispatched and the  sculptor techniques were considered impossible to revive. So this green room decor could not be recreated. As Catherine Pégard, our current Chairman of  the  Public Establishment of  the  Castle, Museum and National Estate of Versailles, said: “The  re-creation of the Water Theatre Grove marks a new stage in the restoration of the gardens of Versailles. The question was put to a group of experts (by our former President, JeanJacques Aillagon), about the historical period the restoration should refer to. It was agreed that as the groves had changed due to hazards of time and tastes of various monarchs, each one should be studied individually but the groves in their 17th- and 18th-century states could coexist naturally with 19th-century arrangements and contemporary creations, indicating that the  fundamentals of  architecture invented by Le Nôtre were never forgotten.” Thanks to our former and our current chairmen, an international contest was launched for the project of a contemporary landscaped garden. Applications of thirty nine world-teams were examined. Six teams were invited to submit preliminary projects. It was essential that the landscaping was reversible since archeological remains underneath were to be preserved in any case. The winners, Louis Benech, the landscape gardener, and Jean-Michel Othoniel, the sculptor, traced back the historical theme of the water theater. In order to recall the past, the landscaper came up with a series of delicate allusions to Le Nôtre’s work, like perspective effects or a large mirror basin. He designed a new green theater and put some plants as landmarks of the lost grove. Among the few trees in the grove that survived the storm in 1999, Louis Benech kept a yew and a boxtree, reminders of the trees planted by Le Nôtre, as a tribute to the grove’s history. Jean-Michel Othoniel created three monumental fountain sculptures, Les Belles Danses (The Beautiful Dances), positioned on the surface of the water in the basin. These works composed of arabesques made of Murano glass express the idea of a body in movement, which is inspired directly by the ballets staged and danced by Louis XIV himself and by the book The Art of Describing the Dance, written by Raoul-Auger Feuillet in 1701. This creation was a new concept for Versailles. It is true that some contemporary pieces of art are introduced in the palace or in the gardens but they are temporary.


Véronique Ciampini. Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years

No work of contemporary art is meant to stay in situ for a long time. The reaction to the project was quite favorable. For the  project to be finally accepted, a lot of internal and external communication was necessary. For example, the  Versailles Fountains Department is quite proud (not without a reason) of the acquired historic skills but is not familiar with pumping and filtration system suggested in  the  project. Our gardeners were not used to keeping the plants selected by Louis Benech. Nowadays, visitors enjoy this Bosquet which is, in a way, aligned to their walk along the Versailles waterfalls.

V. Fourth case: The House of Queen Marie-Antoinette: a cross-road between two restoration historical reference states

The house is located at the heart of the Hamlet, a picturesque site in the English garden. Queen Marie-Antoinette chose Richard Mique’s project among several others. According to the 18th century period, the relationship between Man and Nature was used to create walking routes allowing effects of surprise, making the nature sublime and exhibiting scenery such as the Rock or the English river. The route is aligned with neo-classical fabriques (follies), the Temple of Love and the Music Belvedere, reminding of painted Italian landscapes, revisited landscaped gardens. The English Physiocratic movement is thus illustrated with the Queens’ Hamlet, the park that opens to the countryside and an ornate farm. The Hamlet serves as a background for the English garden. Preceded with wheat fields, grasslands and vineyards, it shows the features of a traditional Normandy (West area of France) village, including a Dovecote and several fabriques, meant to be used by the Queen: the Queen’s House itself with its adjoining Games House, the Boudoir, a Windmill and a Dairy. There are also a Réchauffoir (warming room), a fishing tower called “Malborough Tower”, a Gardener’s house and a bit further away — farm buildings and a house. Nicolaï Mikhaïlovitch Karamzine wrote in Travels in France, published in 17891790: “Pleasant groves with English style parterres surround a small isolated house, devoted through Kindness to Kindness and to  the  calm of one’s chosen company. As I continue walking, I glimpse gently curved hills, cultivated fields, meadows, herds of animals and thatched cottages.” Queen’s Hamlet was an abode away from the  rigid Etiquette of  the  Versailles Court. It was meant to be a space of freedom for Queen Marie-Antoinette. She could invite her closest friends here without worrying about protocol, or use the  place as a playground for her children, enjoy the simple pleasures of savouring milk or watching agricultural works. She behaved according to the idyllic natural life described by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Julie or the New Heloïse, published in 1760.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums Nevertheless the Queen remained the Queen and in spite of the architectural imitation of rustic village housing, inner chambers betrayed her taste for arts. The  interiors of game salons and boudoirs showed great refinement. After her, Empress Marie-Louise took care of inside decoration. She also called over the most famous cabinet makers and painters of her time. Several precious vases were displayed to achieve the splendor of the premises. This exceptional configuration was used in various ways, for example as a dance and coffee hall for the Queen’s house during the 19th century. Some works were done during the 20th century to save the buildings. In the early 21th century Pierre-André Lablaude, former Head Architect of Historical Monuments, conducted recomposition of the English garden and restored several fabriques after the above mentioned storm. In 2012 Jacques Moulin, current Head Architect of Historical Monuments, insisted upon restoration of  the  constructions. The original buildings had not been constructed with noble and durable materials as they had been meant to be similar to  theatrical decorations. Leakages from the roofs and condensate water were slowly destroying walls, floors and decor. A large scale operation became necessary and was made possible thanks to a generous funder. The  main historical reference state for the  buildings as well as gardens must go back to the period of their creation for Queen Marie-Antoinette. A few modifications of the 19th century were applied after thorough consideration, for the structures to last (i.e., the roof of the Gallery and the South Low Tower). Major damages were found when roofs were taken off the buildings and walls and floors were inspected. Therefore, all the  elements which could be restored on the spot were restored: one wood panel after another, each restorable plaster element or paving slab was preserved to keep the maximum of ancient elements. Some parts deteriorated too much and were removed as well as some floors and thatched roofs. Some ancient paintings were restored and new paintings were selected to match dilapidated appearance of the structures, designed to look like rustic buildings with the imitation of brickwork, cut stone or rotten wood. There were a few challenges connected with modern rules on  the  paintings including lead: some exemptions had to be allowed for ancient paintings to be kept as heritage and not to be disposed of. Security norms of the Eurocodes were not followed in order to keep the wood gallery which links both sides of two buildings. Such exceptions demanded technical documents to be provided to control authorities and of course increased the cost of such proceedings. But it was worth it! “Le jeu en vaut la chandelle”. Thus we shall preserve for the following generations the heritage of the 18th and 19th centuries rather than a work adapted to present norms. Because a warming system and air moisture treatment were to be applied (originally meant to preserve the architectural elements and decor, which were painted),


Véronique Ciampini. Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years

they allowed to consider the possibility of refurnishing and exhibiting collections objects. Unfortunately, most of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s furniture was lost. On  the  other hand, the  furniture and several decoration objects dating back to Napoleon I’s Empire were kept in the museum collections. The furniture restoration was managed by Jérémie Benoit, Head Curator at the Palace of Versailles in  charge of  the  Palaces of Trianon. Many crafts men and women such as cabinetmakers, upholsterers, gilders or bronze workers managed by Elisabeth Caude, Head Curator in charge of the restoration workshops of the Palace of Versailles, and craftsmen from third-party companies have contributed to  the  success of the refurnishing project. Thanks to Empress Marie-Louise’s collections, the visitors can appreciate the atmosphere looked for by all the ladies in attendance.


My main purpose is to uncover traditional know-how, whenever it is possible, and to take the best advantage of it. Whenever such approach is impossible to apply, I try, as a technician, to be as close and respectful to our great artists spirit of the past as possible. To conclude, everyone involved in such enterprises showed considerable talent, dedication and craftsmanship.

Great Perspective / © THOMAS GARNIER


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Latona Fountain / ©THOMAS GARNIER

Latona Parterre / ©THOMAS GARNIER


Véronique Ciampini. Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years

Latona Parterre and Fountain ©THOMAS GARNIER

Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet ©THOMAS GARNIER


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Queen Marie-Antoinette’s House ©THOMAS GARNIER

Three Fountains Bosquet - Waterfalls ©THOMAS GARNIER


Véronique Ciampini. Restoring, restituting or creating Versailles gardens during the latest twenty years

Three Fountains Bosquet ©THOMAS GARNIER

Water Theater Bosquet ©THOMAS GARNIER

Water Theater Bosquet — Contemporary Sculptures©THOMAS GARNIER


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums Marie-Sol de La Tour d’Auvergne, Vice-president, The French Parks and Gardens Foundation

Preservation of the historic landscapes of the Loire Valley and role of the UNESCO Heritage The  Val de Loire is located in the  center of France. It is a region made  up of an important part of the Loire Valley which serves as a link and crosses many towns and villages whose history has been related to the river for centuries. The human occupation of the Loire Valley has more than two thousand years of history and goes back to prehistory and protohistory. The  Roman influence has deeply marked the landscape and remains today very striking in many places, in the shape of cities and the communication routes. The Loire was one of the major axes of communication and commerce of Gaul. In the 4th century, Saint Martin, bishop of Tours, founded the abbey of Marmoutier which served as a model for many monasteries of the Loire Valley in the following centuries. It was one of the main pilgrimage sites in Europe until it was replaced by Santiago de Compostela. These monasteries were often founded at the origin of roads and contributed to the development of the region during the Middle Ages. In the 10th century seigniorial power developed and deeply marked the landscape. Feudal society owned the land and the lords built fortified castles that were surrounded by village settlements. In the fourteenth century, the Loire Valley was a border area during the Hundred Years War and the place of many struggles between the French and the English. The castles were rebuilt, enlarged, and became massive fortresses — the ancestors of today’s castles. The permanent danger which the English presented for Paris drove the King’s court to spend a long time in Tours. The peace returned in the middle of the 15th century, the valley of the Loire became the ideal place for development of Humanism and the Renaissance in France. The great medieval fortresses were dismantled and replaced by pleasure castles. It was during the Renaissance period that the important tradition of gardens in Val de Loire was born. Fortresses opened on vast estates, making gardens a new living space and real outdoor lounges. Clear of any defensive imperative, the powerful and the  wealthy people used all their imagination to compete in creating beautiful gardens. In the  17th and 18th centuries, a secular economy was developed based on industry, crafts, commerce, transport, river and cities. At the end of the 18th century, the first regulation works of the river began and went on throughout the 19th century. The  romantic representations of  the  valley given by writers and painters


Marie-Sol de La Tour d’Auvergne, vice-president, The French Parks and Gardens Foundation. Preservation of the historic landscapes of the Loire Valley and role of the UNESCO Heritage

of the 19th century attracted tourists to the Loire — first from France, then from all over Europe. In the 20th century, tourists come from all over the world. Interest in the natural attractions of the Loire Valley and its monuments encourages efforts to preserve the landscape heritage and its monuments, towns and rural structures. In the year 2000, the Loire Valley in the middle course of the river, from Sully to Chalonne, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The territory 280 km long covers 800 km2 and hosts 1.2 million inhabitants, 164 communes, 22 communities of communes, 5 agglomeration communities, 1 regional natural park, 4 departments, and 2 regions: Center and Pays de la Loire UNESCO has made Val de Loire a major site of  the  heritage of humanity by  registering it as a cultural landscape alongside the  major sites in the  world. On the banks of one of the last untamed rivers of Europe a unique harmonious blend of natural wealth and human genius has been created. As one moves along the Loire, rare panoramas of islands and sandbanks are revealed with every turn of the river, giving the impression of a painting in perpetual evolution. With its wide open spaces, its preserved landscapes, its particular light that has attracted generations of painters (including William Turner), the  Loire may be considered a rich and singular ecosystem: many migratory birds, fauna and flora and rare plants chose this haven of peace as their home. The  Loire and the  hillsides of freestone form ideal settings for the  majesty of the great castles, the practice of the art of gardening or wine making. Castles like Chambord Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Chinon, Clos Lucé, Langeais, Loches, Villandry, Ussé and others tell us the History of France, tell us about the kings of France, about Jeanne d ‘Arc and Leonardo da Vinci, medieval battles and the sumptuous Renaissance. The  Loire Valley is called the  “Garden of France”. Here you can see some examples created with an extraordinary variety of inspiration. Villandry and its terraced gardens and a kitchen garden, the contemporary creativity of the Rivau, the elegance of the gardens of Amboise, Chenonceau and its Renaissance water gardens framed by the Cher, the 600 varieties of tomatoes from La Bourdaisière, the fascinating gardens of Chaumont Festival, with the practice of creatiing ephemeral gardens on a different topic every year, the  Italian terraces of Valmer, and so on... We now come to UNESCO and its registration policy: “The  natural and cultural heritage is considered to be of universal value and its loss would be considered irreplaceable for the  collective memory of humanity”. It is for this reason that the  international community adopted the  Convention for the Protection of the World Heritage in 1972. It is now the most ratified


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums convention in the world. Since 1992, the major interactions between humans and the natural environment have been recognized as constituting cultural landscapes. France ratified the Convention with UNESCO for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1975. It currently has 44 properties included into the World Heritage List. As a cultural landscape, the Loire Valley was listed as World Heritage on November 30, 2000, according to the following criteria: - Its architectural heritage is remarkable for historic towns such as Chinon, Blois, Orleans, Saumur and Tours, and its world-famous castles. - Its landscape and its many cultural monuments illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment that forged the thought and creativity of Western Europe. The Loire Valley is an exceptional cultural landscape along a large river. It bears witness to more than two thousand years of exchange of influences, human values and the harmonious development of interactions between people and their environment. How to balance the  preservation of this outstanding universal value with the economic and social development and creativity of our territories? How to preserve and enhance the  exceptional heritage, landscape and natural features of the Loire Valley? How to take them into account while developing the territory of more than one million inhabitants? A charter of excellence of the UNESCO site of Val de Loire proposing five principles, was signed in 2006 by the member communities of the Loire Valley world heritage with the following aims: - Protect the banks of the river. - Preserve the remarkable sites and monuments. - Improve the quality of city entrances and major urban axes. - Take into account the entries of small towns and villages. - Set up a local advertising regulation by municipality. In 2012 a Management Plan was established. This Management Plan is essential because of a large size of this 280 km long site and a large number of its actors (164 municipalities, 6 agglomerations, 4 departments — Loiret, Loire-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, and 2 regions Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire). It implies that this management document is accepted by all the partners, is used as a reference guide and defines the actions to be taken by various actors in respect to the obligations to the international community. Many actions have been undertaken within the framework of the Management Plan.


Marie-Sol de La Tour d’Auvergne, vice-president, The French Parks and Gardens Foundation. Preservation of the historic landscapes of the Loire Valley and role of the UNESCO Heritage

The State and the Region have put in place: - a system of governance and animation of  the  UNESCO site and proposed a charter of commitment that was signed by all local authorities of the site. - an interregional program to coordinate the development of the Loire, sometimes confronted with conflicting economic and environmental issues. - a Biodiversity protection policy for parks and nature reserves creation and creation of Natura 2000 network to safeguard biodiversity on a European scale. - a flood prevention policy was introduced through establishment of public utility easements favoring rational urbanization with regard to the risks associated with floods. - an urban planning to regulate urban development and the architectural quality of buildings. - a survey of threats such as construction of objects that damage landscape structures: roads, crossings, quarries, urban extension. - measures for protection and restoration of the most emblematic spaces and works related to navigation to preserve them. - a landscape policy in the territorial planning to consistently manage the alluvial forest in order to avoid the landscape destruction and preserve major perspectives as well as schedule regular maintenance works for the river bed and levees. In conclusion, this presentation that I was able to make using documents of  the  Regional Council of  the  Center-Val de Loire illustrates the  challenge and the will to maintain the balance between development and preservation of these living landscapes, evolving and highly populated, which are being transformed according to the needs of contemporary life. The inclusion to the UNESCO World Heritage List has had and will continue to have a definite impact on the economic and social development of the classified region while preserving the outstanding universal value of its historical landscapes.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Cécile Luciani Landscape and Garden Historian Translation by: Suzanne Katz

The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure A masterpiece of Le Notre sits quietly at the edge of Paris. The Park of SaintCloud has irrevocably changed throughout the  centuries. Two railway tracks, departmental roads, as well as the  western highway, all cut through the  park. The  increasing urbanisation of the  late XIX century further divided the  park. While the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud is not the only large-scale historical garden of this kind in the surrounding crown of Paris, it is however one that suffered the most. Most likely due to the destruction of its castle during the FrancoPrussian war of 1870, the  Domaine National de Saint-Cloud was transformed into an “urban” park. The  great perspective drawn by Le Notre can no longer be  seen from the  second floor window and the  greater park and its gardens in their ensemble have been lost, yet the gardens and the surrounding environment of the castle have survived.1 Despite the renown of the site, there is a regrettable lack of historical study of the Parc de Saint-Cloud. With the exception of the documentary and iconographic report of G.R.A.H.A.L. of 1993, which covers the XIX and XX century as well as the documentary and iconographic record of the hydraulic network also realised by G.R.A.H.A.L. in 1995, there were few studies on the  Ancien Régime. We can nonetheless quote the  documentary study of Pierre-Antoine Gatier, conducted in 2001, covering the  period from 1625 to 1792 as well as the article by Frédéric Sichet and Pierre-Antoine Gatier, written during a colloquium in 2000 and published by Monum editions in 2003.2 We should also mention the studies of Pierre-André Lablaude carried out in 2009 (Étude préalable à la replantation de l’Allée de Marnes) and in 2013 (Restauration du Grand Axe Ouest) which provide the historical and iconographic synthesis of the site as a whole as well as a precise description of changes through centuries. Finally, we can reference the article by Aurélia Rostaing, published in the book entitled Saint-Cloud, Le Palais retrouvé3, which traces the  history of the  park from its origins to our day. 1 Office National des Forêts – Agence Études et Expertises Ile de de France/Nord-Ouest, Mission d’assistance au Maître d’ouvrage pour la mise en place d’un plan de gestion, Phase 1, État des lieux, 2015, p.3. 2 Frédéric Sichet et Pierre Antoine Gatier, “Une analyse du parc à travers une histoire foncière” paru dans Le Nôtre, un illustre inconnu?, éditions Monum, Paris, 2003. 3 Bernard Chevalier, Aurélia Rostaing, Jean-Denis Serena, Marc Walter, Saint-Cloud, Le Palais retrouvé, Swan Éditeur, 2013


Cécile Luciani. The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure

During Phase 1 of the Management Plan of the  Domaine National de SaintCloud operated in 2015 by the  National Monuments Center and the  National Office of Forests, I was in charge of carrying out historical research on the Park in order to aid Sophie Meyrier and Sebastien Layet, the  landscape designers of the National Forestry Office, who directed the operations. Essentially, I studied the archives of numerous museums and libraries in France. However, most notably, I consulted the  archives of the  Department of Architecture and Heritage of the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, the archives of the Museums of Sceaux and those of the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand. I was able to make a corpus of all the documents (written or graphic) concerning the Parc de Saint-Cloud in order to construct a historical synthesis of the park. To better illustrate my point, graphic documents showing the stylistic evolution of the park were also created as a stratigraphy of the ancient plans. The purpose of this article is to trace the successive stages of the park development through centuries to better publicise the subtlety of this heritage that remains to be protected.

1577-1609 — Catherine de Medici — Jerome de Gondi The fame of the gardens and the residence, located at the level of the terrace of the castle, was established as early as the first half of the XVII century. Indeed, although their appearance is unknown to us, the existence of two gardens surrounding the Hotel d’Aulnay is attested from the XVI century when Queen Catherine de Medici bought the Hotel d’Aulnay in January, 1577, from Mr. Rouillé, a bourgeois merchant from Paris.4 Catherine de Medici acquired this property due to the  presence of a spring which was named the  Fontaine de la Reine (Queen’s Spring), which was located near the current Bassin Nord du Fer à Cheval.5 This spring was intended to transport the waters through an aqueduct to the Jardin des Tuileries.6 As early as in December 1577 the Queen donated the Hotel d’Aulnay and its gardens to Jerome de Gondi, a banker of Florentine origin, but she still retained the property of the Fontaine de la Reine (Queen’s Spring) to water her Jardins des Tuileries, planted in 1572 by Pierre Le Nôtre, the grandfather of André Le Nôtre.7 Jerome de Gondi increased the area of his estate by buying several neighbouring properties and took advantage of the hilly topography, creating a series of terraced gardens. The works took place between 1579 and 1583. The gardens 4 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude documentaire 1625-1792, Tome 1, Étude préalable, septembre 2001, p.47. 5 Frédéric Sichet et Pierre Antoine Gatier, “Saint-Cloud: une analyse du parc à travers son histoire foncière”, in Le Nôtre, un illustre inconnu?, Monum, Paris, 2003, p.137-138. 6 Aurélia Rostaing, “Une brève histoire de Saint-Cloud” in Le Palais retrouvé, Swan Éditeur, 2013, p.46. 7 Aurélia Rostaing, ibid.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums were most likely fed by another spring, that of Saint-Martin8, located to the east of the current Bassin du Fer à Cheval.9 Jérôme de Gondi continued the work and built the  Grotte de Parnasse10, whose water came from the  Saint-Martin spring, feeding the pond of the same name.11 This richly ornamented grotto disappeared in 175912 but we can attest that it was located on a terrace overlooking the Cascade de Gondi as shown in the painting of Allegrain, “La Grande Vue de Saint-Cloud”, dating from the years after 1685, or the prints of Pérelle dating from around 1680.

1609-1625 — Jean-Baptiste II de Gondi Jean-Baptiste II de Gondi acquired the estate in 1609 and did little work on it apart from increasing his property. We have learnt that in 1611 the domain was surrounded by a “large garden” enclosed by hedges of about ten to twelve arpents wide.13 Jean-Baptiste II de Gondi had a decorative pond and a lake built, possibly the Grand Jet or the Bassin des Carpes.14 He later sold his estate to his cousin, Jean-François Gondi, Archbishop of Paris in 1625.

1625-1655 — The Gondi Period The  Gondi period began when Jean-François de Gondi, archbishop of Paris, bought the Hôtel d’Aulnay in 1625 and invested in it. It was Jean-François Gondi who made real changes. As already mentioned, apart from written sources we have few graphic traces of this period. Only the engravings of Israel Sylvestre and Pérelle, as well as the plan of Robert de Cotte drawn in 1669 give us an idea of the places’ layouts at their origin. Yet Robert de Cotte’s plan is incomplete and the engravings only give us partial information about the limits of the site. The studies of PierreAntoine Gatier15 as well as his article co-written with Frédéric Sichet16 have thus made it possible to fill this void by showing, step by step, the evolution of the terrain. Aurélia Rostaing, ibid. Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Jardin de l’Impératrice, Étude préalable, juillet 2004, p. 14. 10 Aurélia Rostaing, ibid. 11 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude documentaire 1625-1792, Tome 1, Étude préalable, septembre 2001, p.47. 12 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Jardin de l’Impératrice, Étude préalable, juillet 2004, p. 16. 13 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 8. 14 Aurélia Rostaing, ibid. 15 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid. 16 Frédéric Sichet et Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Saint-Cloud, une analyse du parc à travers son histoire foncière, in Le Nôtre, un illustre inconnu?, Monum, Paris, 2003. 8 9


Cécile Luciani. The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure

We have learned that Jean-François de Gondi began extensive hydraulic works in 1628. The Bassin des Chiens, built by one of the Francine brothers after 1628, is a fountain located at the southern end of the Allée du Mail.17 The latter is represented in the engravings of Aveline and Pérelle18 and there are still some important vestiges present today.19 We also can see that the Bassin des Carpes represented by Aveline and Pérelle was already built. Perhaps it was created in the first years of the 17th century before the acquisition of the estate by Jean-François de Gondi. However, it appears according to Pierre-Antoine Gatier that the Bassin des Carpes would be directly linked to the Grande Cascade, serving as a reservoir.20 The Bassin du Grand Jet and its decoration of masks and shells were in place from 1644 as Brackenhoffer attested during his trip. This pond was fed by the Saint-Martin spring.21 There was also the Cascade de Gondi as shown in Van der Meulen’s painting “Vue du Parc de Saint-Cloud”, created in 1671. Indeed, it was in 1636 that Jean-François de Gondi began to work on the Cascade under the  grotto, which would be completed in 1665.22 Thus certain elements of the park were established and would be preserved under Philippe d’Orléans, brother of Louis XIV. The spatial organisation of the Gardens of Gondi depended upon the different objects that needed to be linked to each other in order to create a coherent ensemble. The notarial sources, the deeds of sale or purchase of land made it possible to carry out an evaluation of this land right between 1625 and 1655. However, with the  exception of those depicted in Robert de Cotte’s plan of 1669 we do not know the exact layout of these gardens. The Allée of Tillet already existed (called Allée du Mail at this time) and served as a delimitation for the property of Tillet closer to the Seine.23 According to Pierre-Antoine Gatier, the structure of this planted area must have been composed of groves with an average mixed forest and especially high palisades of cut greens, that is to say an ordinary wooded area with a hornbeam bower. The gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte served as an example and a source of inspiration. This garden structure seemed to last until as late as the 17th century (1685). We can observe in the “Vue à vol d’oiseau” of Etienne Allegrain that the birch trees still existed within the limits of the wooded parts.24

Frédéric Sichet et Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid. p. 139. Sceaux, Musée d’Ile de France. Inv 84_58/1 et 2. 19 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Jardin de l’Impératrice, Étude préalable, juillet 2004 p.9. 20 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 16. 21 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 11. 22 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 9. 23 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 11. 24 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 16 17 18


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

1658-1701 — Philippe d’Orléans In 1658 Louis XIV offered the House of Gondi to his brother Philippe d’Orléans. It must have belonged for only three years to Barthélémy Hervart, from 1655 to 1658. With the  exception of the  construction of the  northern branch of the hydraulic network, few changes were made at that time.25 In 1659 Philippe d’Orléans also acquired the House of Tillet and the neighbouring gardens of the House of Gondi. There is little difference between Robert de Cotte’s plan of 1669 and the description in the deed of sale. Philippe d’Orléans undertook a vast campaign, purchasing neighbouring parcels as early as in 1666.26 In addition, Philippe d’Orléans carried out some important new developments in the  park, such as construction of the  Grande Cascade. From 1660 Antoine Le Pautre started working on a new monumental waterfall that was completed in 1667, while its surroundings had been built many years before. It can be seen that around the newly built Grande Cascade tall trees were conserved to frame the  Cascade and their development clearly indicated that they were planted many years before the new alignment plantations along the Seine. Van der Meulen’s painting, “Vue de Saint-Cloud”, painted around 1670 (Versailles, Museum of French History MV6265) proves it.27 Moreover, for the lower part of the Cascade, the adaptation led to the establishment of a hornbeam bower to form a new edge to the old wooded parts that belonged to the House of Tillet. As for the upper part of the Cascade, the layout of the aisles was not modified. Therefore the arbelles in place must have been the heritage of previous owners. The upper part of the Cascade was bordered by palisaded yew trees. Among the  species planted around the Cascade in the XIX century there are ash trees, elms, sycamore maples, and chestnut trees, while near the Bassin des Carpes and the Grand Jet there were elm trees.28 The chutes in the Petit Parc were not indicated on the map of Cotte dating 1669. These chutes would later be attributed to Le Pautre. From 1659 to 1683 Philippe d’Orléans gradually acquired the  Bas  Parc and the  first development works began in 1659 and ended in 1682. Le Nôtre worked for Philippe d’Orléans from 1660 until the  death of the  King’s brother in 1701. The  development of Bas Parc was mainly based on the use of the existing elements but they were also complemented with new creations such as the  Parterre de Venus, made by Le Nôtre in 1674 in the south part of Bas Parc. 25 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude documentaire 1625-1792, Tome 1, Étude préalable, septembre 2001, p.49. 26 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 49. 27 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p. 50. 28 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Jardin de l’Impératrice, Étude préalable, juillet 2004, p.17.


Cécile Luciani. The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure

From 1666 to 1677 few notable changes were made to the castle, with the exception of some works including construction of the central house of the new castle connecting the  two wings of Pautre and Gobert, which was completed around 1677. However, major hydraulic and landscaping works were carried out during this period. From 1672 to 1679 Jean Girard created the Bassin des Cygnes, surrounded by twelve statues, which later became the  Bassin du Fer à Cheval, attributed to Hardouin Mansart. The orangery was built in 1680 and Le Nôtre laid out the Alley of the Balustrade and a crow’s feet. The construction of the Trianon (now the Pavillon Breteuil) in 1672 by the architect Thomas Gobert, and the  Parterre de Venus in the  Bas Parc near Sèvres, created by Le Nôtre, were completed in 1673 and 1674 respectively. These works followed the creation of the new Allée du Mail in 1669 (to distinguish the Allée du Gondi Mail, the current Allée du Tillet), which was planned to connect the castle to the future Pavilion of Trianon. This path would be fitted with hydraulic system to drive water to Sèvres. The completion of the Trianon was accompanied by creation of the Alley of Versailles in 1673.29 Indeed, the route of the Allée de Versailles coincided with the completion of the Parterre de Venus. It is another element of infrastructure essential for the arrival of guests, active social life, representation and parties, that begin to be hosted in Saint-Cloud. The first of such events was held in 1672. In 1679 Louis XIV presented to Pierre Monnerot, Receiver General of Finance in Orleans, the seized land to the South of the Bas Parc near Sèvres. Here we find a garden famous for its fountains and grottos, as well as a famed kitchen garden that became a Florist garden under the reign of Marie-Antoinette.30 These lands also had a spring used for the fountains of the Noues fountain, for which Monnerot searched between 1648 and 1658 in Ville d’Avray. This fountain became the Fontaine du Roy and fed the waters of Versailles. However, some water was left to  Philippe d’Orléans to feed the  Grand Réservoir via the  aqueduct construction that still allows today the movement of the Grandes-Eaux of Saint-Cloud.31 In  1665, simultaneously with the  expansion of the  Bas Parc and the  northern part, there began the construction of the great perspective to the west along with the construction of the 24 Jets, the Allée de Marnes and finally the Grande Gerbe. From 1676, after the purchase of the land, Le Nôtre finally managed to create a great perspective, the western sloping central axis. Also an orangery along the first floor of the building was constructed. A staircase led to the second parterre and further to the 24 Jets and the Allée de Marnes led to the Great Gerbe. 29 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude documentaire 1625-1792, Tome 1, Étude préalable, septembre 2001, p. 50-51. 30 Pierre-Antoine Gatier, ibid., p.52. 31 Aurélia Rostaing, “Une brève histoire de Saint-Cloud” in Le Palais retrouvé, Swan Éditeur, 2013, p.13.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums The Jardin d’Apollo and the Labyrinthe de Verdure at the North of the park were created in Montretout and can be seen in the painting of Étienne Allegrain representing the park around 1675. In 1683 Philippe d’Orléans acquired the property of the  Duke of Charost, and it allowed to complete the  Bas Park through the construction of the Allée du Chateau, connecting the Pont de Saint-Cloud with the castle. The Bassin des Cygnes became the Bassin du Fer à Cheval attributed to Hardouin Mansart in the years 1687-1688. Around 1697, Jules Hardouin Mansart reconstructed the castle, created a southern wing and modified the central forequarters and the stairs of Le Pautre. The Cascade de Le Pautre was also entrusted to Hardouin Mansart who changed the initial decorations by adding marine monsters and created a channel. In 1699, the new Cascade started working for the first time. In 1685, the second phase of expansion began in the eastern part. The Grand Parc and the Entre-Deux Parc, called Haut Parc by Pierre-André Lablaude and PierreAntoine Gatier, were made up of wooded squares, meadows and plowed land void of any pleasure garden. In 1691 there was laid out an extension of the park towards the plateau to the east. Philippe d’Orléans acquired the Arpent Franc. And in 1695 he acquired half of the seigniory of Villeneuve including La Colline de la Brosse. In 1695 the Grande Perspective du Chateau planned by Le Nôtre towards the west was finished with the acquisition of the lands of Villeneuve which allowed to extend the Allée de Marnes and modify the Rond de la Grande Gerbe. In 1698, a project of earthworks of Allée de la Porte Jaune was launched but it was later interrupted by the death of Philippe d’Orléans in 1701 and the expansion towards the west and the north ended abruptly. In the  middle of the  eighteenth century, the  space of the  Petit Parc was fully reorganised. Its position, in a basin to the  south of the  castle and the  terrace of the Orangery, rendered its development difficult. In 1735, the year of the Plan of Germain-Eloi Legrand, the laying out of the Petit Parc was more or less completed. The old chutes of the “new Petit Parc” were destroyed in 1743. New chutes were located along the southern side of the terrace by the Orangery and are still in  place today. Le Petit Parc hosted green lawns with sinuous curves, including the Bosquet de la Félicité. These curves and turns in the rococo style prefigured the fashion for English gardens. From then on, the global geometry of the Petit Parc would not suffer any substantive changes.32 Apart from the  reorganisation of  the  Petit Parc, the  main structure did not deviate from its original axes. But the  area did expand and gain ground towards the  west. One can also note that the pathways were then covered with lush lawn grass.


Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Étude documentaire 1625-1792, 2001, p. 65.


Cécile Luciani. The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure

1725-1752 — Louis Philippe I d’Orléans In 1725 Louis Philippe of Orleans had the Grande Cascade restored by Adam and Denisot. In 1743 the Allée Forestière de la Balustrade, created by Le Nôtre, was replaced by a lawn adorned with cascades, designed by GermainEloi Legrand. The old chutes were destroyed to be replaced by the Petit Parc. The Trianon was restored and the design of the Grand Parterres de Venus was simplified. The Parterre de Venus gave way to groves. From 1744 to 1752 Pierre Contant d’Ivry created a lyre-shaped lawn in the Petit Parc, an amphitheater of greenery in the alley going up to the Vue de la Balustrade, decorated with a pond, fountains, statues and crowned with a belvedere. It was also during this period that the Château de la Gayeté was created in 1748 on the Colline de la Brosse and new gardens were created by its edge preceded by a two-ramped climb, the  Violin de la Brosse. Pierre Germain Legrand designed the  Bosquet de  la Félicité and conceived the Grove of Bliss. In 1752 Louis Philippe died and his son Louis Philippe Joseph succeeded him. In 1755 the belvedere of the Rondpoint de la Lanterne was destroyed while in 1768 new chutes were created by Pierre Germain Legrand. From 1777 to 1774 restorations were made to the Cascades.

1785-1799 — Marie-Antoinette and the Period of the Revolution In 1785, Marie-Antoinette acquired the estate and had the castle enlarged by her architect Richard Mique. Also the Parterre de l’Orangerie was redesigned. Above all, she created the Pavillon de la Félicité in the grove of the same name and Saint-Cloud became a summer residence for the  royal family. The  Pavillon de la Félicité, constructed of wood, would be found in a state of ruin in  1799.33 The  Fontaine du Bosquet (grove) is still in place today. The  grove became home to Cabinets de verdure, as well as a network of water passages and a rock fountain that no longer runs today. The Bosquet de la Félicité was treated as a labyrinth in the Rococo style. “Inherited from Le Nôtre and at the forefront of the English Garden, this style reproduces rock, concretions, stalagmites and shells.”34 This grove belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette, who closed it to the public in order to integrate it into the private domaine. During the Revolution, in 1793 the park of Saint-Cloud was reserved by a decree “for the approval of the citizens of Paris”. Archives du Domaine, O2 11 / I 10 et Archives nationales, O2 326, dossier II / 1. Charlotte Corberon, Ji Sung An, Lucas Lazzrotto, dir. Stéphanie de Courtois, Georges Farhat et Denis Miraillé, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Master 2 Jardins Historiques, Patrimoine, Paysage, ENSAV, Université Panthéon Sorbonne, datant de 2013, p. 99. 33 34


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

1799-1814 — The Period of Napoléon I On November 9 and 10, 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte provoked a coup d’état at Saint-Cloud and settled there. He had the park expanded to the east. The park remained mainly in its original state even if some irregularities took place. From 1802 to  1812 the  Villeneuve l’Étang estate was refurbished by the  landscape designer Berthauld for Maréchal de Soult. Around the same time Berthauld reconfigured the  gardens and the  park of the  Imperial Palace of Compiegne. The  Maréchal bought the  lands near Vaucresson and Marnes and enlarged his domain of Villeneuve l’Étang between 1810 and 1812. He practiced merino sheep farming and completely changed the regular aesthetics of the estate to adopt the English meadow style with forest massifs and winding alleyways. The classically angular pond became a lake with soft contours prolonged by a river criss-crossing the park. This style of parks and gardens favoured prospects framed as theatrical “scenes”, picturesque paths, as well as alternating open spaces and woodland, especially around the castle. Maréchal Soult retired from Villeneuve-l’Étang in 1815, during the fall of Napoleon I, and rented his castle and his domain until 1830.35

1815-1847 — The Restoration and the July Monarchy In 1817 the construction of the Pont de Sèvres, a new road and a new entrance construction on this side of the park, began. The royal road No. 185, a future departmental road, was built berween 1821 and 1823. In 1823 the Garden of Trocadero was created by the  landscape designer Hurtault. The  reclassification study of the Jardin de Trocadero — Analysis of historical evolution: Trocadero, Montretout, Apollon E. Cereghini and MH. Zamuner — realised in 1993, provided an indepth historical analysis of the plantings of the Garden of Trocadero as well as a reclassification of the site itself. The work of these researches is both precise and extensive. We are only transcribing their observations and their research. In 1823 the Trocadero Garden was created by Hurtault, who was known to have made the English Garden of Fontainebleau (1811-1812). On Hurtault’s death his successor, Dubreuil, assumed the task of landscaping of Montretout’s “new English garden” in 1824 to 1826. The garden was then called Trocadero following the victory of  the  Duke of Angoulême in 1823. The  garden must then be viewed amongst its contemporaries and then can easily be compared to the Bosquet du Jardin du Roi at Versailles, created by Dufour, the Jardin de Bagatelle, or even the Jardins de l’Elysee which underwent important transformations under Napoleon I. These gardens have Michel Borjon (dir.), Valérie-Noëlle Jouffre, Stéphane Boiron et Calin Demestrescu, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude Historique et archéologique, Rapport intermédiaire, La Parc de Villeneuve l’Étang, GRAHAL, 1991, p.7. 35


Cécile Luciani. The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure

significant differences in terms of size and topographic situation but common features are easily recognisable: the arrangement of the  land, the  design of  the  paths, the organisation of the vegetation masses, the location of the buildings, the layout of the streams. The garden is characterised by serpentine, ring-shaped paths, that form the main axis, a meadow dominated by a pavilion and several lawns. Vegetation is varied and rich in exotic species, newly introduced to fashionable gardens. From 1825 the expansion of the Garden of Apollo was planned by the garden-florist Montretout. Realization of the plan was followed by the annexation of the former dairy of Queen Antoinette to the Garden of Trocadero (1826) and by the transformation of this part into a florist garden which became the flower garden of Trocadero. Two constructions existed on the site: the guard corps and the Turkish pavilion which would late take the name of Kiosque du Prince Impérial. In 1832 Louis Philippe settled in Saint-Cloud and the year 1836 marked the beginning of construction of the railway from Paris to Versailles. Several squares were then turned to “landscaped glades”. Under the July Monarchy the park experienced a major campaign parallel to the creation of the railway and the route of the Royal Road No. 185. In the the Grand Parc forest squares changed their shape as in the case of the sector of Tranche-Montagne also called the Colline du Mail, or Colline de la Croix Saint-André.36 South of the  Allée du Mail laid out by Le Nôtre sinuous paths began to settle on  the  slope of Tranche-Montagne. Because of its topography the  slope has never been subject to levelling. After the Revolution (1793) the park was opened to the public and became a place for walks. In 1846 a special means of transportation — a holiday jetty — was created in addition to the railway, because more and more Parisians were coming to relax in Saint-Cloud. The growing popularity of the promenade reinforced the popularity of “English gardens” and reflected the general desire to escape and enjoy the nature. The hillside was therefore exploited besause its topography was particularly well adapted to scenic landscape effects. The Tranche-Montagne Bridge was designed in 1841 and completed in 1845. In 1843 the banks of the Coteau du Mail (Hill of Mail) were planted with a thousand of trees and shrubs. The layout of the hill did not become a sophisticated part of the park even though the Pont du Diable was not unlike the tunnels or bridges of Buttes Chaumont. This area of the park was left purposefully untouched besause of its topography with a markedly steep slope. This irregularity, left as it was with open meadows, was viewed as unacceptable in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was therefore necessary to cover this slope with the inappropriately adapted natural reliefs of a classical park. The layout of the hill seemed to have been intended to hide the topographic element that was difficult to transform, but later became a major 36 Pierre Antoine Gatier, Étude Préalable à la mise en valeur du coteau de la Croix Saint-André, 2001, p.8.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums part of the composition that could help to gain popularity for the garden. The few paths that embellished the eastern half of the hillside below the Allée du Mail mostly contributed to the desired illusion. Between 1879 and 1892 the ruins of the castle were levelled and a terrace was built in its place.

1852-1870 — The Second Empire In 1852 Napoleon III bought the Domaine de Villeneuve-l’Étang which linked the two landscape complexes. Between 1858 and 1859 a lake was dug out in the Garden of Trocadéro and in 1859 the Manufacture de Sèvres was rebuilt. Additionally, the Hill for Tranche-Montagne reached the height of its popularity in terms of attendance and visitors. On October 13, 1870, the castle was burned to the ground during the Franco-Prussian war. The Second Empire marked a turning point for the park as a whole. The Domaine de Saint Cloud was the  expansion of Villeneuve l’Étang. During this festive period Emperor Napoleon III built a farm in “Swiss Style” in the VilleneuveL’Étang Park. Whistling ducks, wild geese and Guinea geese, gulls and seagulls were brought to decorate the Villeneuve-L’Étang basin provided by the Museum of Natural History. In 1864 and 1865 important works were undertaken for the restoration of the lower part of the  “Great English River” of the park of Villeneuve.37 It was also during the Second Empire that the artificial lake was built at the Jardin du Trocadero in 1868-1859. Although meeting the aesthetic criteria of the new style for gardens, this basin served a functional purpose as well. The artificial lake was a large reservoir to be used in case of fire, in which case its water would be directed into fire pumps. The Lake of Trocadero was a remarkable example of the new principles in garden art, even if the problem of its integration into the composition was not fully resolved. In gardens and also in public parks water became the central element and driving force of composition. The project of the artificial Lake of Trocadero drastically changed the composition: it occupied the central meadow, facing the Turkish Pavilion.38 Finally, in 1853 the hillside of Tranche-Montagne saw the peak of attendance, as the  styles of two different periods of landscape architecture complemented each other: the well-established structural fabric of Le Nôtre’s park and the newer picturesque style. The southern sector of the hillside and the woods of the Côte du Mail were completed with a network of serpentine paths that facilitated con37 Michel Borjon (dir.), Valérie-Noëlle Jouffre, Stéphane Boiron et Calin Demestrescu, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude Historique et archéologique, Rapport intermédiaire, La Parc de Villeneuve l’Étang, GRAHAL, 1991, p. 5 38 Michel Borjon (dir.), Valérie-Noëlle Jouffre, Stéphane Boiron et Calin Demestrescu, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Étude Historique et archéologique, Rapport intermédiaire, La Parc de Villeneuve l’Étang, GRAHAL, 1991, p. 5


Cécile Luciani. The Parc of Saint-Cloud: historical patrimony weakened by increasing urban pressure

nection between the North and the South. On the one side, a winding path joins the Porte du Mail to the Haut-Parc. On the other, the Allée de Tranche-Montagne connects the  Allée de la Balustrade to the  waterfalls. It passes under the  ramps of Breteuil, thanks to the construction of the Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge), then cuts across the Allée du Mail and winds in a gentle curve through the Bois de SaintAndré. Thus, the hillside acquires its own identity. The southern sector of the Park had been ignored for several centuries and it was only in the nineteenth century that this harmony was created.39 Like the rest of Paris, the Parc de Saint-Cloud was not saved from the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The Lantern of Demosthenes, marking the center of the Rond de la Balustrade, was destroyed. Pavillon du Trianon and the castle itself were burned to the ground.

1871-1944 — The Third Republic Gradually, the  park was dismembered with the  arrival of railways and roads. The  close proximity of the  motorway added a strong urban presence to the  park. The  construction of the  railway tracks began in 1880 with the  line connecting the Étang-la-Ville to Saint-Cloud. Then in 1886 the line connecting Alma to Courbevoie to Saint-Cloud was constructed. In 1923 the  Domaine de Saint-Cloud and the park of Villeneuve l’Étang were classified as sites and natural monuments of artistic value. The  Lafayette Escadrille Memorial was built in the  park of Villeneuve l’Etang in memory of the American soldiers who had died during the First World War in 1931. In 1939 the construction of the western highway commenced. The general classification of the park of Saint-Cloud as a Historical Monument was suggested.

1945-2018 — The Fourth and the Fifth Republic However, in 1999 a storm severely degraded the  plant heritage. The  state of affairs worsened, among other things, due to the heat wave of 2003 and the tornado of 2006. The  wooded areas of the  park have so far remained “in the  after the storm state”. A safety campaign was launched in 2000 by Pierre-Antoine Gatier, it provided reports on the damage and advocated the closure of the park for the duration of the felling. As early as the 2000s, important restoration campaigns began and the oldest parts, such as the 24 Jets, the Jardin de l’Empresse, the Rond des Gardes, were repaired. The wooded heritage remains for the time being to be restored and in 2015 it became the subject of a thorough study within the framework of the Management Plan led by the National Forestry Office. 39 Olivier Damée et Fabienne Fendrich, Diagnostic et orientations en vue de la mise en valeur du coteau, 1994, p. 66.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

By Bernard Messerli, the research specialist in charge of botany and history of the gardens at the Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum

Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum


Plane view (lake, castle, garden and Prangins) / © MNS

Before talking about different aspects chosen for the museumification of the old vegetable and fruit gardens of the Château de Prangins (French-speaking Switzerland, near Geneva), we would like to place these assets in their geographical and historic context. The Château de Prangins (CDP), a remarkable monument of the 18th century, overlooks Geneva Lake, between Geneva and Lausanne1. After the castle had been owned by four generations of barons Guiguer2 (between 1723 and 1816), and then had changed many owners (it also housed the Boy’s Educational Institute of  the  Unity of  the  Moravian Brethren between 1873 and 19203), the  cantons of  Vaud and Geneva acquired the  building and the  area and provided it, in 1974, to the Confederation with the objective of creating an Affiliate Museum of the Swiss National Museum in the French-speaking Switzerland4. The inauguration took place in 1998. The permanent exhibitions illustrate the key moments in the history of our country from 1750 to 1920; that was the period of change, of evolution and revolution, which left a permanent impact on the political, social, economic, and industrial character of Switzerland.


Bernard Messerli. Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the  Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum

Louis-François Guiguer de Prangins (1741-1786), the 3rd baron of Prangins, and his wife Matilda (born in Cleveland ; 1758-1817), on the terrace, on the lake side of the Castle / © MNS


Vegetable garden, with students from the Moravians Institute and gardeners, sitting on the wall (around 1900) / © MNS


A crane installed in the garden for the renovation during the restoration of the castle (1991) / © MNS


Cultural & (horti) cultural mix under the Lights

The Castle of Prangins, an Affiliate Museum of the Swiss National Museum, has a vegetable garden and a conservatory of ancient local plant varieties5. The concept of ancient times here is related to the 18th century, a period when four generations of barons lived in this building, which was used both as a pleasure palace and the administration center of the estate. To attest to the regional origin of these products, including fruit6, vegetable, medicinal, aromatic and floral plants, it was


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums


A view of the garden in the direction of the castle / © Janine Jousson/MNS


Espaliers of Damascus plum in bloom / © MNS

necessary to refer to old local almanacs (including “Swiss Gardener’s Almanac” by Jean Gaudin, 1778, reprinted by BCU Lausanne in 2003), local archives (Nyon/VD in relation to barons Guiguer de Prangins), the Encyclopedia of Yverdon (17701780), as well as cookery books.


Bernard Messerli. Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the  Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum


A view of the garden in the direction of the temple / © Janine Jousson/MNS

The vegetable garden of the Castle, sometimes called the “French garden”, is an outstanding cultural and historical heritage. Its cultivation went on almost uninterruptedly between 1730 and 1960, so it saw 230 years of vegetable gardening and horticulture. Restored in 1997 in its original baroque composition, this garden is home to hundreds of old varieties of fruit, vegetables and flowers7. It is an intermediary space between the countryside and the castle, which represents a harmonious balance between the natural order and the will of man; it projects the image of nature tamed and wisely managed. This garden lost its initial purpose as a source of food and a decoration to become a place of preservation and exhibition. The collection of this living museum (as there are plants here) must be beautiful and varied at all times. To stay pleasing to the eyes, the cultures need to be maintained regularly and cared for. In addition to cropping, weeding and other types of clearing out, spot treatments are necessary, because these older cultivars shown in the garden are not all completely adapted to the environmental conditions (soil, altitude, exposure). It is decided to intervene in a targeted manner when no other alternatives are available, and the plant is in danger. The phytosanitary treatments are adjusted in accordance with the type of the plant affected, the conditions observed, and the proper timing for an adequate response. The products selected for treatment are those used in organic gardening. What happens with the harvest?8 The harvest, including flowers, fruit, and vegetables, is not intended for sale but is exhibited in situ for as long as possible. Withering in the garden (which sometimes saddens visitors) is justified by the constraints of the conservation9. In relation with these protective measures affected in collaboration with the Foundation Pro Specie Rara and the research station Agroscope ACW, it is necessary to


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Crops offered to the visitors / © MNS



Garden orache (Atriplex hortensis) seeds / © Janine Jousson/MNS

harvest the seeds to maturity, i. e., after the plant has shown its most striking beauty. When quantity permits, visitors are invited to taste the produce. Therefore, a basket put near the entrance of the museum plays a purely aesthetic role.


Bernard Messerli. Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the  Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum

Multiple and diverse applications

The progress in the sphere of museum concepts and the desire to attract new audiences prompted the  CDP to create a new image (in a progressive manner) through its new permanent exhibits. The history of Switzerland was reviewed and expressed in a synthetic panorama, with twenty informative silhouettes in the park of  the  castle (“The  Walk of Lights”). The  third step was to establish the  Centre of Interpretation of Gardening, a permanent exhibition related to the  vegetable garden which incorporates the main themes covered in the guided tours around the garden. This function of the agricultural heritage is complimented by an audio-guide and thematic areas. The labelling of plants has also been redesigned to match the  nomenclature, scientific and vernacular, of  the  Enlightenment route. Two annual events are to be added here: the  spring “Rendez-vous in  the  Garden” and the fall “Lunch on the Grass”, which represent two important moments in the presentation of our collections of vegetable crops. We should also mention the monthly guided tours on Sunday mornings in summer.

The Walk of Lights

Introduced in 2010, this insightful route shows via 21 silhouettes some lesser known aspects of the history of the place. Punctuating the  space of  the  court and the  park (5 hectares), these historical characters provide explanations of certain architectural or botanical, domestic, rural, artistic, or agronomical, literary or landscaping aspects. In  the  18th century, the  art of silhouette was in full swing. Jean Huber, genevan patrician and amateur painter, known for his portraits of Voltaire, was the  most popular silhouettiste of his time. His son Jean 10 Huber of the bees (1750-1831), to the right, Huber is immortalized in  the  silhouette and the Shepherd, in the orchard of Abériaux “Huber of the Bees”10, related to his study / © Janine Jousson/MNS “The New Observations on Bees” (1814), from which we took this excerpt: “The bees sometimes also pollinate plants (...). Finally, when the plants to be pollinated are not too far away from the pollinating ones, pollen may be brought by wind.” Thus, this figure near the  apiary of Abériaux (the meadow to the east of the Castle, which descends towards Geneva Lake) reminds us of the prominent role played by honeybees in fruit production.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums


Samuel Engel (1702-1784) / © Nicolas Koenig

Such fruits, primarily apples and pears, are also the subject of the presentation at the back of “The Shepherd” silhouette. From the side of the village of Prangins, there is a figure of the agronomist Samuel Engel11 (1702-1784), who reminds visitors of  the  efforts which were made to encourage peasants of Vaud to cultivate potatoes. To emphasize this step in  the  regional agriculture, we set up in 2008, the International Year of the Potato, a small theater performance; this was an opportunity to commemorate the patrician in the great picture gallery of our castle two centuries and a quarter after his death. The story of this famous Solanaceae plant was so fascinating for us that we dedicated a short film to it (available on


Bernard Messerli. Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the  Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum

Interpretation Centre: a museum for discussion

“A museum space that aims to explain a memorial place, an environmental entity (...). Oral presentations here are more important than the experience of actual phenomena, but at the same time, it can accommodate both hands-on workshops and educational demonstrations.” To put in practice the definition of the interpretation centre as proposed by the “Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Museology” (Armand Colin, 2011), we have introduced the elements of reflection that we developed for our guided tours in the garden. Thus, on the ground floor of a maisonette devoted to the vegetable garden, we highlighted the themes rather than just objects (plants). It was necessary to select a few plants in the garden which would take on a human adventure; to offer interactivity generated by  these plants, which were almost talking; to make visitors feel emotions, encourage confrontation, or even play with provocation. Some of the ideas that were discussed in the 18th century remain important in our 21st century: natural vs. artificial, regional vs. global, etc. There are themes related to older varieties to be elaborated. Whenever it was possible, preference was given to this fun and interactive approach. At the time when the choice was to be made, the simplest way to organize the words into a hierarchical order was to arrange the structure of the garden, dividing it into 4 squares and multiple beds12: 4 plants, 4 seasons, 4 themes, 4 colours... The number 4, a symbol of perfection since the times of Persian gardens, is available in a rich palette: 4  rivers of paradise, 4 Christian virtues, 4 cardinal points, the  ancient concept of our earth having 4 continents, not to mention the theories of the 4 humors and

Inside the Interpretation Centre of the vegetable garden (CIP), “The garden unveiled”, at the cardoon side (winter) / © MNS



The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums the 4 elements still strong in the 18th century. To be more specific, we present our selection. In the spring, on a green background, the sept-en-gueule pear explains the concept of biodiversity. When summer comes, the Vitelotte potato tells stories of economics and agronomy — how agronomy helped to make the potato a nourishing tuber rather than a “cursed plant of the devil” and how the plant managed to save the region from serious food shortages due to the “Little Ice Age”. In the fall, the saffron tells us about plant sexuality, which, in case of this condiment and dye, was used by humans in their own interests, and which is widely used for the classification of plants and their hybridization. As for the cardoon, on a blue background of winter, it illustrates the migration of plants, similar to that of humans. We should say a little bit about the title of the permanent exhibition “The Garden Unveiled”. These words allude to a letter by Voltaire (to Nicolas-Claude Thierrot, March 24, 1755), who stayed here from December 1754 to March 1755, when the castle was empty and all the works were finished: “Prangins is a real palace; but the architect of Prangins has forgotten to make a garden...”. And yet there was a vegetable garden! It is a garden, isn’t it?

Multi seasonal audio-guide

In the production of the audio-guide it was necessary to make a choice between the woody plants, such as fruit trees in the espaliers, and herbaceous plants, which include vegetables, spices and medicinal plants, so that a visit can be informative in any season. Now, in November, for example, you can admire the d’Api apple: “Delightful, tasty, practical: it is a small yellow apple, flushed with pink. The one you see in the photo surprises our visitors during winter walks. As it does not attract birds too much and it may be kept on the  shaft, it is picked when the  need arises, or when it is desired.” In the middle of the summer, the asparagus-pea is sown again to flourish and it is described like this: “This small masterpiece of gardening is a bed of asparagus-peas13. The only complaint we can make is that its blooming is very short: only a few weeks, and two to four months at most, in summer. Its flowers are graceful, which you can check by looking at the photo, if you like. They look like small purple orchids...”.


Asparagus-peas in bloom (Lotus tetragonolobus) / © Janine Jousson/MNS


Bernard Messerli. Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the  Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum

Theme squares

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) / © Janine Jousson/MNS


Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) / © Janine Jousson/MNS


A study carried out by the  museum for the  purpose of  the  development and enhancement of the garden, identified a few weaknesses: a lack of mystery and discovery (everything seems to be shown openly!), frustrations due to the impossibility to experience things, like tasting and touching. These thoughts led to the idea of developing theme-related squares. In  the  section of Smells and Perfumes, one can smell the plants (roses, lilies of the valley, violets, carnations) whose flowers or leaves have special fragrances. The emanations depend on a species, a stage of plant development, time of the day, temperature and humidity. Sweet, pungent, exquisite, nauseating... In the corned dedicated to aromatic herbs and condiments, there is a collection of plants (garlic, basil, hysope14) which are used for cooking purposes for their aroma or as seasoning. If they feel hot, if they are spicy and exotic, we call them spices. In the square of medicinal and magical plants one can see simple herbs (sage, wormwood, lemon balm), natural medicines which do not require pharmaceutical processing. Sometimes these herbs only had a role of apotropaic charms, i.e., they were used to chase evil spells away and distract bad influences. Such herbs were rue, borage, etc. More diffuse is the  corner of practical plants with domestic applications. Most of the plants presented here are interesting due to their dying properties or their fibers. Others have more specific applications: the soap root is used as soap, moor-grass — for pipe-cleaning, Jerusalem sage15 — for the wicks of oil lamps, wall pellitory — for glass cleaning, marigold —against pests.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Designs of variable geometry for the garden concept


Reseda (Reseda tinctoria) / © MNS

The great thing about the work of the curator of a historic garden is the constant creativity. The history of the place must never become fossilized. The Castle and garden should work together towards that goal. This year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the CDP, a fascinating temporary exhibition was opened with the Indian theme, showing cotton fabrics of oriental origin with floral motifs. The theme square of plants with practical application includes a collection of herbs used for their color properties: madder, dyeweed16, pastels which are natural dyes. Our mediator guides take the opportunity to arrange demonstrations, to invite the public to experiment with dyes. Guided tours help to explain the discoveries, the culturing and the  harvesting work in this area, and they serve as a valuable addition to the showcases of the temporary exhibition. There is still place for improvement for the projects in terms of enhancing the opportunities for active interaction between the visitor and the garden; visitors need to be able to go further than just touching and tasting. Hopefully, a visitor who has come here once will always want to come back.


Bernard Messerli. Presentation of ancient vegetables in the  historical vegetable garden of the  Château de Prangins, Swiss National Museum

Bibliography: • “The Garden Side” by Bernard Messerli (texts) and Janine Jousson (photos), published by l’Aire; Vevey, 2017 • “The Castle of Prangins” by Helen Bieri Thomson, A Guide to the art and history of Switzerland; Society for the history of art, Berne, 2015 • “Soups and lemons: The cuisine of the Canton of Vaud under the Old Regime”, by François de Capitani, editions d’en Bas, Lausanne 2002 • “Jerusalem artichoke”, “Sugar root”, “Saffron” ... 47 cards with vegetables from the kitchen garden of Prangins published in the Swiss Journal of Viticulture, Arboriculture, Horticulture, published by ACW Changins/Nyon; 2001 • “Prangins: from the Fortress to the Castle of Pleasure” by François Christe, and Colette Grand, Cahier d’archéologie romande, Lausanne 1997 • “The Castle of Prangins: the Historic Home” by Chantal de Schoulepnikoff, publication of the Swiss National Museum, Zurich 1981


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Jacques Soignon Parks & Gardens Department City of Nantes

Fusion of culture and nature Parks are oases The need for nature in city citizens’ lives has become a global phenomenon. At the  time when more than half of Earth’s inhabitants live in cities, and when global warming is leaving people with unprecedented challenges, PARKS HAVE BECOME OASES.

Shinjuku Park Tokyo / © JS

In Nantes, “The city with 100 gardens”, these oases have been created with the continuing objective of completely connecting all parts of the city with “green corridors”. At the moment, there is a garden within 500 m of each house and an access to a “green” footpath within 300 m. The city is estimated to have 18 million visitors per year, a figure that is constantly increasing. The  Botanical Garden is the most frequented, and has seen an increase of 1 to 2 million visitors in 4 years!


Jacques Soignon. Fusion of culture and nature

The city in a garden

“Promenade Nantaise” / © JS

Alphonse Allais wrote at the end of the 19th century that “cities should be built in the countryside because the air is purer there”. Today, it is the city that welcomes nature. Maintaining a balance between the city and nature has become a formidable challenge. For Johanna Rolland, the mayor of Nantes since 2014, an important objective is “to move from the city with 100 gardens, to the city in a garden” and the best landscape designers have already been chosen to facilitate this urban transformation. In Nantes, with the help of Gilles Clément and the CAMPO agency, we are trying to connect various parks through a green and blue framework called “the green star”. It is an ambitious project that aims to promote the movement of living beings. First of all, the movement of inhabitants, but also of flora and fauna. The “Promenade Nantaise” will be a wide avenue 3 km long, a garden in the city centre, from the station all the way to what will be the “Heron’s Tree”, an extraordinary hanging garden. To do this, it is necessary to reclaim the  tarmac from cars, in order to favour pedestrians and bicycles. Three teams have been assigned to finish the  project before 2021 – Phytolab, Jacqueline Osty Paysage (AJOA) and TER.

Railway station plazza 1968 / © Phytolab

Railway station plazza 2020 / © Phytolab


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Fusing Culture and Nature For twenty years the City of Nantes has been implementing a range of innovative projects at the intersection of arts and environment. Over time, this practice has strengthened the City’s unique reputation for originality, boosting both economic growth and tourism.

The house by the Loire by Jean-Luc Courcoult / © Jean Dominique Billiaud

One starting point was “Estuaire” (Estuary), the biennial conceived by Jean Blaise, which focussed on presenting a series of permanent installations along 60  km of  the  Loire, many of which draw attention to neglected or abandoned features of the natural landscape. Today, 30 public art installations form a sculptural trail, ready to be discovered on foot, by bicycle or by boat. “Villa Cheminée” (Chimney Villa) by Tatzu Nishi – an installation which may also be used as  a  guest house and which is improbably situated on  top of a 15 meters high power station tower — offers a wonderful view of the great river. “La Maison dans la Loire” (The House by the Loire) by Jean-Luc Courcoult, Director of Royal de Luxe (the renowned street theatre company from Nantes), is a replica of an old inn at the river’s edge at Lavau-sur-Loire. Further along the river bank, the Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata has created a walkway with a viewpoint, which enables visitors to thread their way across the expansive reedbeds in search of the estuary’s rare birds.


Jacques Soignon. Fusion of culture and nature

Paysage glissé by Tact Architectes et Tangui Robert / © Js

Our urban programme of cultural and environmental engagement now comes under the umbrella of the “Voyage à Nantes” (Journey to Nantes) or VAN. Launched in 2011 with the aim of bringing together all of Nantes’ cultural assets within a tourism offer, the  VAN unveils a series of new art commissions every summer, some of which have become permanent. Those which are selected to stay (sometimes by public demand) are original, often interactive, and distinctive for their quirky sense of humour. For example, for more than a year now intrepid visitors can slide down “Paysage Glissé” (Sliding Landscape) from the  battlements of the Castle to the moat — a modern take on medieval weapons created by TACT architects and Tangui Robert. We also welcomed the american artist Patrick Dougherty, known for his land-art, who created a woven wooden maze, which he called “Fit for a Queen”, on the same site for two years in a row. In a similar way, during our annual plant fair called “La Folie des Plantes” (Plant Madness), which attracts 40,000 plant enthusiasts over one weekend, the Castle is animated according to the chosen topic. For example, one year the theme of passion inspired the artists Marie-Hélène Richard and Stephan Bohu to create a giant snake, illustrating the desire to find Adam or Eve.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Plant Madness Grand Blottereau / ©JS

This desire to set new works in the context of old landmarks, periodically for festivals or other events, has also been adopted by other cities in France: for example, Angers stages an annual festival “Accroche-Cœurs” (Hook, Line and Sinker), which attracts many artists, including François Abelanet who created some distinctive anamorphoses in the castle moat. Even more frequently, Chaumont-sur-Loire’s garden festival has become a reference point in France for landscape innovation. It is also a world-renowned school which trains landscape architects and designers. This festival invites to share permanent and temporary projects. Flower-art and sculptures using natural materials in  the  landscape are part of  the  teaching programme.


Jacques Soignon. Fusion of culture and nature

Angers Castle by François Abelanet / © Js

Vijversburg Park / © Js

Gardens are welcoming playgrounds open to all types of culture. Our monarchs used to invite the very best musicians to play in Versailles and St. Petersburg. This tradition continues, for example, in Thiré in Vendée, where the famous american composer William Christie has renovated the gardens of an ancient manor house to make them a site for an annual series of baroque concerts. People who love beautiful gardens and music come together. In Nantes we also used this idea in 2016 with our 100 concerts to celebrate the creation of the 100th garden in the City.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

Jardin de William Christie / © Js

Many large estates have adopted the practice of inviting the best landscape architects to display their work at festivals, like “Journées de Courson” (Courson Days) at Chantilly, where installations are set against a historical background. Such events provide brilliant ways of testing a new project or idea with the public before they become permanent, as we did in Nantes Botanical Garden, where many of  Claude Ponti’s wonderful ideas have taken root. Claude Ponti is probably the most renowned children’s author and illustrator in France today. His giant sleeping chicken appeared on holidays over three consecutive summers, changing its position each year, and his “Dormanron” (half-bear, half-cat) has spent its fifth year sleeping in the Garden. Both the giant benches and trick benches are now integrated into the landscape of this 19th century historical garden. This is a great example of how an artist’s fertile imagination complemented with the skills of Nantes city gardeners and green space team have given rise to a unique project, which has definitely contributed to the significant increase in visits over the last few years.

Dormanron by Claude Ponti / © Js


Sleeping chicken by Claude Ponti / © Js

Jacques Soignon. Fusion of culture and nature

After building such a fantastic working relationship with Claude Ponti, we worked with a local street artist called Pedro, who created a series of colourful 3D structures, which elegantly incorporated plants into their design.

From street art to garden by Pedro / © Js

This year we broke new ground once again together with the circus artist Johann le Guillerm. This tightrope-walker, who usually devises shows for the big top, conceived a series of moving, aquatic flowers, which flex and emerge powered by airpumps brought into action by the public. Thus, elegant wooden structures without any nuts and bolts work their way across the garden.

Attraction by Johann le Guillerm / © David Dubost

Engaging the public on a large-scale has been the key to organizing events with all three artists, for example, the public have handcrafted moving flowers, cushions and pom-poms.


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums

The dragon by Kinya Maruyama / © Js

Feestaardvarken by Florentijn Hofman / © Js

The artist and architect Kinya Maruyama consulted with children before creating a playground in the form of a dragon in one of our city centre squares, rather like the giant animal by Florentijn Hofman in Arnhem, Holland. Evor is an artist from Nantes, who has transformed a series of privately-owned concrete garage roofs into a true hidden jungle. This year a viewpoint was built to give access to this hidden gem for the public.

A true hidden jungle by Evor / © Js


Jacques Soignon. Fusion of culture and nature

Our city decision-makers are inspired by summer festivals, and this has enabled us to try out ideas on city quays, transforming ugly car parking areas into places with unlimited potential. A set of floating gardens opposite the old city hall on the Quai Ceineray has become a trendy evening hang-out place for 15-35 yearolds who sit on  the  new terraces, watching the  new colonies of ducks, enjoying their new rafts.

Quai Ceineray before 2013 / © Js

Quai Ceineray rafts / © Js

At this tributary of the Loire — the Erdre — we again worked in cooperation with Marie-Hélène Richard, who created in the summer of 2017 the “vallée miroir” (Mirror Valley) — blue wooden structures casting beautiful reflections.

Rêver Erdre by Marie-Hélène Richard / © Js


The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums This summer within the temporary regeneration project for the quayside “Quai de la Fosse” a tree nursery was arranged and it would stay as a “meanwhile” project for 2-3 years, until further regeneration begins. 1200 trees demonstrate the willingness of the City to plant new trees. Each tree is named and given its final destination in a future greening project, while providing a new habitat for pedestrians and cyclists. During 4 months in 2018 200,000 visitors enjoyed this green, open-air gallery.

Quai de la Fosse before 2017 / © Js

Quai de la Fosse green open-air gallery 2018 / © Js

Post-industrial sites can also inspire garden designers: “Le Jardin des Fonderies” (Foundry Garden) is a new covered park by Doazan-Hirschberger, which is located where ship propellers had been cast up until the 20th century. The kilns have been conserved and are on display among lush vegetation, which evokes the transatlantic crossings.

Foundry Gardens / © Js


Jacques Soignon. Fusion of culture and nature

And finally, the Heron Tree (L’  Arbre aux Hérons) is the  City’s next landmark project. Conceived by François Delarozière and Pierre Oréfice, who designed the  undersea creature carousel and the  elephant, this 45  m high steel structure without any doubt will be one of  the  most visited attractions on  the  Atlantic Coast in 2022. In 2019 a “jardin extraordinaire” with a waterfall and belvederes will open to  the  public on the site of the old quarry and neglected bistro, which will become home to the Giant Tree. This quarry had provided much of  the  granite used to build some of our most beautiful buildings.

L’ Arbre aux hérons by François Delarozière and Pierre Oréfice / © Stéphane Muntaner

Jardin extraordinaire / © Phytolab

Culture-nature, nature-culture — it is an important alliance that provides our citizens with a playful and attractive frame, increasing the quality of their daily lives. This strategic direction certainly bears fruit, if we are to believe the frequent media reports, which include Nantes among the most dynamic, contemporary green city destinations in the world.


Profile for Cécile Luciani

The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums, Conference proceedings, Gatchina, 2018  

Colloque international de restauration de jardins historiques au Musée Impérial de Gatchina, Saint-Pétersbourg, Russie.

The Status of Historical Gardens and Parks as Museums, Conference proceedings, Gatchina, 2018  

Colloque international de restauration de jardins historiques au Musée Impérial de Gatchina, Saint-Pétersbourg, Russie.


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