Vintage landscape: allée

wwi-british-trench-nationaal-archief-on-flickrOfficial photo of the recent English progress at the Western Front. A well hidden trench,” between 1914 and 1918, via Nationaal Archief (of the Netherlands) Commons on flickr.

It occurred to me that some, or a lot, of the wattle could have been woven by men who were gardeners before the war.

WWI trenches were not actually straight, but zigzagged to prevent enemy soldiers from firing down the axis. They were normally about 4 m. (12′) deep.

Life in gardens: when the prince has no porch

frederick-i-of-baden-ca-1900-by-queen-victoria-of-sweden-tekniska-museet
. . . a rather awkward arrangement.

“Society at dining table. Frederick I of Baden sits in the middle,” location unknown, ca. 1890 – 1907, by Queen Victoria of Sweden, via Tekniska museet (Sweden) on flickr, under CC license.

Victoria (or Viktoria) of Baden — Queen of Sweden after 1907 — was the daughter of Frederick I. She married Crown Prince Gustaf in 1881, and they had three children, but it was not a happy marriage. From 1882, she spent almost every winter in Egypt and Italy, mostly in Capri. She was a good amateur photographer, as well as a painter and sculptor.

Vintage landscape: Verdun

Verdun grave, university of caen, flickrSoldiers’ graves in the region of Verdun, France, ca. 1914 to ca. 1918, photographer unknown, via Université de Caen Normandie Commons on flickr.

“A gravesite decorated and trellised by the soldiers of the X. . . regiment of infantry.”

The photo is one of over 1,800 donated to the archives of Seine-Maritime in Rouen and the Université de Caen by the founder of Lafond Printing in Rouen. The sepia photographs have been digitized in their original condition: glued on bristol board with handwritten captions identifying places and scenes. Most of the pictures concern World War I.

You can click on the image to enlarge it.

Vintage landscape: Fez

Jardin de Dar Beïda dans le palais de Bou Jloud, Fès, Maroc, janvier 1913, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Stéphane Passet, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 879
“Dar Beïda [white house] garden in the Bou Jeloud Palace, Fez, Morocco,” January 1913, by Stéphane Passet, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Départment of Hauts-de-Seine.

I believe the image above was taken in what is now called the Jnane Sbil Garden — created as a royal garden in the 18th century and open to the public since the 19th. It was restored between 2006 and 2011.

This autochrome is one of about 72,000 that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to 50 countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 879) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Vintage landscape: Mount Vernon

A repeat “Vintage” from 2012. . .

I love this 1902 photograph of the Upper Garden at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. It’s so high Colonial Revival.

Early American Gardens has a post this week,  “Mount Vernon after George Washington’s death,” with images from the 19th century.  While looking at them I remembered the picture above and the two below.

Above is a hand-colored slide from a 1929 aerial photo, part of the lantern slides collection of Frances Benjamin Johnston.  The Upper Garden is on the right side.

And here is a general view (c.1910 – 1920) of the the Upper Garden by the Detroit Publishing Co.  All three images above via the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The 20th century photos are pretty, but they don’t accurately represent the Upper Garden of Washington’s time.  In the late 19th century, restorers thought that the boxwood parterres (many filled with hybrid tea roses) were original to Washington’s time, but research in the 1980s found that they were actually planted in the 1860s or 70s (although they may have been rooted from Washington’s boxwood).

The garden was substantially re-worked in 1985, but such is the romantic power of a boxwood hedge that the mid-19th century bushes were largely “kept in place by their own mythology and the mythology they supported of Washington as American royalty,” according to The History Blog, here.

But by the early 2000s, those boxwoods were dying, so the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which owns the estate, decided to make an extensive (six-year) archaeological dig on the site.  This culminated in a “new” (1780s) design in 2011.  The area now holds large open beds of vegetables and flowers.  They are bordered by low boxwood hedges and centered by a 10′ wide gravel walkway.

You can read about the restoration in this Washington Post article, here.  And I really recommend watching this very interesting 30-minute C-Span video about the research and archaeology that informed it.

(There’s more about the garden in 2017 here.)