Andre le Notre, King of Gardeners

In every society in every age there are those who have stood out because of certain talents and achievements and many have been considered artist and innovator. French gardener extraordinaire Andre Le Notre (1613-1700) was certainly one. The third generation of his family to become a royal gardener he perfected the classical style of gardening and outstanding among his works are the gardens of Saint Cloud and Chantilly and perhaps his greatest triumphs for Nicolas Foucquet at Vaux le Vicomte and for Louis XIV the Sun King at the Chateau at Versailles. Contemporary descriptions of him characterise him as vivacious, exuberant and enthusiastic. He became a close friend of Louis XIV as they seemingly shared the same vision; an ambition to beautify France and glorify Louis’ reign. They were also both keen collectors of botanical specimens. Andre Le Notre had a remarkable sense of proportion and his use of masses, spaces and perspectives, as well as his ability to eliminate unnecessary detail, created the effect that one of his gardens was like a wonderful piece of music played by an orchestra where all the instruments came together in triumph to produce a rich, harmonious whole.

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