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Royal Gardener to Charles II Encouraged the Formal Garden Style of Versailles

During the late seventeenth century in England a period of years is simply referred to as the Restoration.

The Restoration began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II (1630-85) after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Garden design during the Restoration took on the formal, symmetrical look of Versailles.

Grace Tabor writes in her classic garden history book Old-Fashioned Gardening, first published in 1913, “A celebrated English gardener, considered indeed the best of his time in a practical way, one John Rose, was sent to study at Versailles, and became Royal Gardener to Charles upon his return. So the French ideas were thoroughly in evidence in the new fashions of the Restoration; but because of their magnificence they were not adapted to any but the estates of the nobility.”

According to the blog Robyn Fields, by the 17th century, the pineapple which came from South America had made it’s way to England. It was very difficult, and expensive, to cultivate, so found a place only at the table of the most wealthy. In 1675, King Charles II of England posed for a portrait receiving a pineapple from his gardener, John Rose. It was believed to be the first pineapple ever grown in England.

You can see here the painting by Hendrik Danckherts that depicts John Rose presenting the pineapple to Charles II [below].

Notice also the symmetry in the background landscape style.

Charles II is presented with the first pineapple in England by his gardener John Rose. (Painting by Hendrik Danckherts, 1675).
Charles II is presented with the first pineapple in England by his gardener John Rose. (Painting by Hendrik Danckherts, 1675).

It was that symmetry in a formal garden style that marked the late seventeenth century.

That would change in the eighteenth century when there was a developement in England of the ‘modern’ style of landscape which was more natural or picturesque.

Both styles appeared in America as well.

In his magazine garden English writer and landscape gardener John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843) mentioned the Lyman estate, located outside of Boston and designed in the late 1770s, as a fine example of  ‘modern’ landscape gardening on American soil.

The modern landscape was more natural, and quite distinct from the earlier formal, symmetrical look, once encouraged by John Rose, gardener to the King.




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