Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Orangery....

An Orangery was a building frequently found in the grounds of the des. res. from the 17th to the 19th centuries. It was usually constructed with a classical architectural form. The name reflects the original use of the building as a place where citrus trees were often wintered in tubs under cover, surviving through harsh frosts. At Versailles, the citrus was grown in large stone tubs which were to be moved out onto the adjacent terrace every morning after the frosts had gone, and back again every sun set. This was quite a feat, bearing in mind that there were thousands of trees in large stone pots to shift!

The orangery provided a luxurious extension of the normal season of a range of plants, and also to establish other varieties of tender plants, particularly exotics. During the 19-20 centuries, having fruits such as Bananas and Pineapples grown on one's estate to titillate one's guests with was the ultimate in certain social circles! An example of one such fixation was that of growing pineapples, where in Dunmore Park, Scotland, there was built a house especially dedicated to the growth of the pineapple, assisted by furnace driven heating, and fancifully designed with a pineapple-shaped cupola:

The Dunmore Pineapple (Wikipedia commons, attr. Kevin Rae)

The orangery originated from Italy during the renaissance, when glass-making techniques enabled sufficiently large expanses of clear glass to be produced. Orangeries became symbols of status among the wealthy and the aristocracy. Originally they were constructed with a standard roof of their period, i.e. slate or lead. Later glazed roofing, which afforded more sunlight to plants, became the norm (sometime during the early nineteenth century). The orangery at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire, which had been provided with a slate roof when originally built in 1702, was given a glazed one about a hundred years later.

The Orangerie at the Palace de Louvre built in 1617, inspired imitations that were eventually trumped by Europe's largest orangery, that of Versailles. It was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart for Louis XIV's 3000 orange trees at. It was not until eclipsed by any other glazed building until Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace:

The new "Hesperidean" garden Louis XIV commissioned Le Vau to create at Versailles, in imitation of Abel Servien's orangery at Meudon, indulged his customary delight, here as elsewhere, of offering all while giving nothing.

When first completed in 1664 the classic layout of the superb orange garden designed by Le Notre could be admired by all from the balustrade of the "parterre du Midi" or flower terrace.

Twenty years later the Orangery at Versailles was rebuilt and extended, revealing the king's intentions even more clearly. The new architect, Hardouin-Mansart, provided access to the garden by building the two monumental staircases known as the "One Hundred Steps", but surrounded the garden with high railings. Enclosed in this impressive "seraglio", access to the orange trees depended entirely on the goodwill of the king. Louis XIV - who in fact wrote a guide to the gardens entitled Maniere de montrer les Jardins de Versailles - would lead his courtiers across the orange garden, which stood empty in winter, to the Salon de lOrangerie, where they would gaze in wonder at this palace of oranges.

The king owed this extraordinary display to Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, who had been responsible for the fruit and vegetable gardens on the king's estates since 1670. Las Quintinie was appointed to Versailles in 1661 and between 1678 and 1683 worked with Hardouin-Mansart on the new royal kitchen garden; this gave him the opportunity to experiment with new methods of transplanting, managing, and pruning fruit trees. In winter the orangery, to which the container-grown plants from the various royal residences were brought, housed more than 3,000 trees including oranges, lemons, bays, pomegranates, and thorn apples.

Today, modern Orangeries take on many forms, from the more traditional, like that designed by Qinlan Terry, Below:

To the more modern:

At Willowbrook Park there will be a small orangery, like the one below, situated in the middle of the citrus grove, inside the orchard at the end of an avenue of Crab-apples:

More examples of glorious orangeries:

1 comment:

  1. Nice post . I like this so excellent posting you have.


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