The King’s Garden greenhouses in the 18th century
The 18th century was unquestionable a century of acclimatisation for many plant species. Naturalists from the Enlightenment sought the best way to naturalise plants, whilst limiting distortion between their original and their adopted environment. Within this context, technical installations – such as greenhouses – were perfected. They burgeoned in the King’s Garden but, far from bearing witness to total command over nature, they met with a series of tensions and contradictions: what relationship is there between climate and plant development? How can we ensure their energy supply at a time when resources are increasingly rare? Should we build more and more greenhouses to the detriment of ordinary garden maintenance?
Jan Synowiecki, a qualified professor in history, is a PhD student at the EHESS – Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (School of Social Sciences), where he is preparing a thesis on the role of Parisian gardens in urban culture and sociability during the Age of Enlightenment, at the crossroads between social and cultural history. He is also an ATER (Temporary Teaching and Research Attaché) at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.