Garden Prospects

Charles VIII of France (1470-98) invaded Italy in 1494, but failed in his attempt to secure Naples. He and his courtiers and generals were entranced by what they saw there. The court, its etiquette and manners attached to it were all a revelation, as well as the art and architecture of nobleman’s villas and their gardens. They admired the novelty of Italian ornament and how Italians extracted from their classical past models and theories for the construction of buildings and gardens. The French gained an appreciation for how Italians sited a garden below the level of the main rooms of the house. This meant the viewer could enjoy a prospect over an axial approach leading to the main entrance of the principal building. This device would become a re-occurring theme in French garden architecture as at the original palace of the Sun King Vaux le Vicomte where gardener Andre le Notre delivered a great garden of ingenuity and invention.

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