Le magazine


Atlas des Parcs et Jardins du Palais de Compiègne

mardi 04 avril 2017

Share on :

  • CRUSE Scanner — digitisation of the Atlas
    CRUSE Scanner — digitisation of the Atlas
  • The royal estate Atlas des parcs et jardins. Compiègne 1844.
    The royal estate Atlas des parcs et jardins. Compiègne 1844.
  • The royal estate Atlas des parcs et jardins. Compiègne 1844.
    The royal estate Atlas des parcs et jardins. Compiègne 1844.
  • The royal estate Atlas des parcs et jardins. Compiègne 1844.
    The royal estate Atlas des parcs et jardins. Compiègne 1844.

The photographic agency has begun digitising the Atlas des Parcs et Jardins du palais de Compiègne. There is only one copy of this work that is indispensable for the maintenance of the Palace gardens, it has been handed down from gardener to gardener over generations.
 

During a photographic visit to the Imperial Palace at Compiègne, Laure Starcky, document controller, enquired whether it would be possible to photograph an atlas with very specific dimensions of 2.10 metres when opened.
Equipped with a scanner specially adapted to this type of document, the photographic agency was asked to digitise this recently restored and exceptional work. 
It is one of twenty-eight atlases from the Royal Estates, consisting of three series: Parks and Gardens — to which this atlas belongs — buildings and forests.

To find out more, we put some questions to François Breton, SCN Head Gardener for Compiègne and Blérancourt, head of gardening services since 1983.

How many people do you work with? 

The workforce numbers 16 gardeners for maintaining and restoring the Compiègne estate, as well as the site of the Franco-American museum in Blérancourt.

When did the Atlas des Parcs et Jardins come into the hands of the Park teams?

It could be found in the offices of the head gardener long before I started working here, and it was handed over to the Palace documentation service in the 2000s. In the 1980s, major restoration work was carried out every year. This work was like a bible for the head gardener.

When did you first become aware of the work?

I was introduced to it by the head gardener when I joined the team.

What is your relationship with the work? Is it still an important reference for maintaining the Palace gardens and parks?

I would say that it was the most suitable way for a head gardener to explain, raise awareness and pass on the history of the garden to "new" gardeners.

Do you have any means of modifying the original layout plans it contains?

No, we have always respected Berthault's original layout of the garden.

The RMNGP photographic agency has digitised the atlas, will it make your work easier using digital images? Will this lead to a change in your working methods?

It will certainly be a lot easier for consulting. (Having the plans to hand on a tablet, for example)

Is this the only reference work you use for maintaining the Estate?

Since 2009, we have also used a management tool that includes a documentary section and a more technical management section.  This working approach is a good combination of history and techniques. The gardening department also includes a library with a number of botanical and garden history works, but nothing that compares with the royal atlas!

Do you have any anecdotes relating to the work or your use of the atlas?

We made particular use of it to find the axes that allowed us to recreate the half moon at the rear of the estate. It also allowed us to recreate the hills that had disappeared, and more recently to justify the axis of the allée des Beaux-Monts for an ONF project.
And it allowed us to lay out the rose garden which had disappeared completely when we recreated it in the 1980s.

We would like to thank François Breton for his time.

 

 

See on Agence Photo website:

The Palais de Compiègne was occupied by royalty dating back to the Merovingian era. Little by little, the residence became a place of royal holidays with a major emphasis on hunting.

Napoleon I assigned the development of the exterior landscape of the Palace of Compiègne to his architect Louis-Martin Berthault. The Emperor decided on an English garden that emphasised the proximity of the forest to the residence.

After the fall of the Second Empire, the estate was integrated into the town and became a public park.

The current transformations are based on the plans drawn up by Berthault in 1811 and recorded in the atlas in 1844.

A restoration plan was carried out by the Palace gardeners in accordance with the original plans for the gardens. They were the precursors to the historic restoration of its former grandeur. The Rose Garden is a fine example, restored to its state in 1821.
 

A living monument, the historic gardens of the Palace of Compiègne

Sculptures in the Château de Compiègne estate

 

Discover

Our work is reproducing itself: duplication in action
Business image
Our work is reproducing itself: duplication in action
mardi 03 janvier 2017
The agency has acquired several high-performance acquisition systems. The most recent investment is a high resolution scanner.Technological...
See more
Atlas des Parcs et Jardins du Palais de Compiègne
About collections
"Jardins extraordinaires" exhibition: Jean-Baptiste Leroux Photo Agency photographer
mardi 16 mai 2017
Presented on the gates of the Jardin du Luxembourg, the "Jardins extraordinaires" exhibition focuses on a selection of photos by...
See more