The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Moulin Joli garden design

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218. Watelet's garden, the Moulin Joli, the next example of the English style in France, is of a very different description from Ermenonville. Watelet was the author of an Essai sur les Jardins, which appeared in 1774. His garden was situated in the suburbs of Paris, on the Seine, and contained about four acres, varied by buildings, grottoes, temples, and inscriptions; and was, on the whole, more in the Chinese style than in that of Kent or Shenstone. The author, who professes to take utility for the basis of his art, seems to have felt something wanting, in this particular, to his temples and altars, and is ridiculed by Hirschfeld (Theorie des Jardins, tom. i. p. 168.) for proposing occasionally �de faire paroitre aupres les temples et les autels, les ares de triomphe, &c., une troupe de pantomimes, vetues suivant le costume necessaire, imitant des ceremonies, faisant des sacrifices, allant porter des offrandes,� &c. The Prince de Ligne admired Watelet's garden almost as much as that of Girardin, though in so different a style. After describing it, he says, �allezy, incredules.... Meditez sur les inscriptions que le gout y a dictees. Meditez avec le sage, soupirez avec l'amant, et benissez Watelet.� (Mem. et Lettres, &c. p. 230.) The object of such as attempt English gardening in France on a small scale is too often more to imitate the sentimental garden of Watelet, than the �paysages interessans� of Girardin.