French landscape garden  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The French landscape garden (jardin paysager, jardin a l'anglaise, jardin pittoresque, jardin anglo-chinois) is a style of garden inspired by idealized Italian landscapes and the romantic paintings of Hubert Robert, Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, European ideas about Chinese gardens, and the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The style originated in England, as the 'English landscape garden,' in the early 18th century and spread to France, where, in the late 18th and early 19th century, it gradually replaced the formal, symmetrical garden à la française.

Désert de Retz, Yvelines (1774-1782)

The Désert de Retz garden was created by François Racine de Monville (1734–1797), a French aristocrat, musician, architect and landscape designer. In 1774, de Monville bought a country estate at Saint-Jacques-de-Retz, which had a farm, lands, and a formal jardin à la française. He resolved to create a new garden in the new English style. He called the garden le Désert de Retz, and planted it with four thousand trees from the royal greenhouses, and rerouted a river and created several ponds.

The garden, completed in 1785, contained twenty-one fabriques, or architectural constructions, representing different periods of history and parts of the world; they included an artificial rock, a temple of rest, a theater, a Chinese house, a tomb, a ruined Gothic church, a ruined altar, an obelisk, a temple to the god Pan, a Siamese tent, and an ice-house in the form of a pyramid. The best-known feature was the ruined classical column, large enough to hold a residence inside.

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