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Empress Josephine Preferred English Landscape Style

I just finished reading a book about Napoleon Bonaparte and gardens called Napoleon: A Life Told in Gardens and Shadows.

This is an excellent biography of Bonapart and in a clever way the author manages to intertwine his life with his interest in gardens and landscape. They become part of the story.

One instance is the story of the gardens at the house he shared with Empress Josephine called Malmaison.

Malmaison was located eleven kilometres outside of Paris.

The design of the landscape reflected the popular English style of the time.

Author Ruth Scott writes, “Instead of the strict formally of the traditional French style, which Napoleon much preferred, the jardin l’anglaise included winding paths, asymmetrical plantings, groves, lakes and follies”

Josephine bought the property after Napoleon had left for Egypt.

They had seen it together in January of 1798. Josephine liked it immediately, but Napoleon thought the price was too high.

Josephine borrowed the deposit of 15,000 francs and waited for her husband to return to settle the remainder of the debt. She promised to pay 225,000 francs for the house.

Malmaison became their marital home, as Scurr puts it.

Auguste Garneray, 1812, Vue de Malmaison. Watercolor 16.3 x 24.3 cm

This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. David, thank you for the blog posts about Josephine and her Malmaison gardens. Hope to use some of the material soon on a new blogpost I am now writing.
      I appreciate this material from you.

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