A garden by Louis Philippe: A palette of colors in service of the king

Musée d'Archéologie nationale - Domaine de St Germain en Laye
June 4  - July 31 2016
Extension until August 15, 2016

At the initiative of the investment banker Émile Pereire and after notification from the Council of Bridges and Highways, the engineer Eugène Flachat was entrusted, in 1844, with the construction of the atmospheric railway that extended the rail line linking Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

This rail line led to the creation of works of art, the construction of ditches in the forest, and the creation of a jetty on the Seine that would enduringly/permanently mark the urban landscape and the palace’s surroundings. The palace became the Museum of National Antiquities in 1862.

This was the occasion for Louis-Philippe I to create an English garden in the extension of the French-style lawn and quincunx, a checkerboard-style of planting, were soon redesigned. The French king entrusted its creation to the engineer Alexandre Prosper Loaisel de Tréogate, who, to do this, would produce numerous plans, most of which are now found in the National Archives and the Departmental Archives of Yvelines.

During the cataloguing of the documentary collection, a plan dated 1844, a water color, and a drawing on transparent paper were discovered. They enabled the presentation of a poorly known dossier to our visitors, namely to enthusiasts of the history of the landscape and the history of gardens. The subtle hues used to draw the plans and render modifications comprehensible were echoed in the color scheme employed for the Rendez-vous aux jardins 2016 event. These plans provide a powerful tribute to the work of the gardeners in the national domain who contributed just today to the site’s beauty.

This dossier stems from research on the history of the palace and the estate that is currently conducted by the Museum of National Antiquities-Domaine national de Saint-Germain-en-Laye as partner of the labex Pasts in the present.


Curator :

Corinne Jouys-Barbelin, heritage curator, director of the documentary resources service

In collaboration with  :

Étienne Faisant, PhD in art history, research engineer, labex Pasts in the Present
Gilles Becquer, chief gardener, National domaine of Saint-Germain-en-Laye