De l’Europe occidentale à la Russie : conversations de jardins au XVIIIe siècle by Emmanuel DUCAMP – Archives du Calvados

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De l’Europe occidentale à la Russie : conversations de jardins au XVIIIe siècle by Emmanuel DUCAMP – Archives du Calvados

From Western Europe to Russia: 18th-century garden conversations

It is of no great surprise, since the new Russian capital of Saint Petersburg was, according to its founder Peter the Great, to act as ‘a window onto Europe’, that it was inspired by European garden designing traditions. The best-known example is that of the gardens of Peterhof Palace, in the Gulf of Finland, where the tsar simply had copies made of the waterfalls and fountains he had seen in Versailles and Marly during his visit to see the young King Louis XV in May 1717.  The designs of these gardens were transmitted in two manners: through albums comprising maps and drawings, then through invitations extended to French artists to come and work in Russia. Throughout the 18th century, this process of transmitting ideas or talents was repeated, equally for stately parks in Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo and Pavlovsk, and for private gardens – for example the Great Gatchina Palace, home to Grigori Orlov, a favourite of Empress Catherine the Great.
This presentation will therefore study how Western sources were copied in Russia, most of them ultimately to be adapted and reinterpreted to suit local usage, climate requirements or specific tastes, whilst combining towards the emergence of a new ‘tradition’.

Emmanuel Ducamp

After studying law and history of art, Emmanuel Ducamp continued his career as a specialist on architecture and French decorative art, then on Russia and Germany, which served as the subject of his lessons at the Ecole du Louvre.
Initially editorial director for Éditions Alain de Gourcuff, then an independent art historian, he has, for over thirty years, published or contributed towards several works on architecture, the palaces and parks of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, the decorative arts and Russian art collectors.
His interest in gardens was born in his family home town of Varengeville-sur-Mer, where he acted for over twenty years as chairman of the Association des Amis du Bois des Moutiers, on which he wrote a book published by Éditions Flammarion.  He is a member of the Committee of the Société des Amateurs de Jardins (Garden Amateurs’ Society) and the European Institute for Gardens and Landscapes Scientific Committee.