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Parterre Design

Parterre Design

Although, from 1555 on, Hans Vredeman de Vries had a busy career producing pattern books, it was not until 1583, with his Hortorvm viridariorvmqve, that he first published a volume devoted exclusively to gardens. His designs show an important novelty, parterres de pièces coupées (knot-pattern parterres), which were meant for the display of exotic plants.

Similarly innovative are his garden layouts, which in part derive from his interpretation of classical architecture through the study of Vitruvius and Serlio. Vredeman de Vries’s designs for parterres reimagine classical orders, with the Doric represented by geometric patterns, the Ionic by circular and volute motifs, and the Corinthian by labyrinths, though sometimes the distinctions between the Corinthian and the Ionic are less than clear. The gardens are hierarchically ordered, and their relationship with the surrounding architecture gives a sense of spatial unity far superior to that found in any of his previous work. To achieve this unity of house and garden, Vredeman de Vries probably relied on the approach of the French architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau (1510–1584), celebrated for his book Les plus excellents batiments de France published in 1576–79. The influence of Vredeman de Vries’s complex views of flowerbeds, mazes, fountains, arbors, and pavilions could be traced across central and northern Europe, from the designs of Hans Puechfeldner for Rudolph II in Prague, to Jan van der Groen’s Den Nederlandtsen Hovenier of 1670, to Theobold’s Park between London and Ware. The flowerbeds and layout of the Hortus Palatinus in Heidelberg also recall his designs.  

 

 

Mehrtens, Ulbe Martin. “Johan Vredeman de Vries and the Hortorum Formae.” In The History of Garden Design: The Western Tradition from the Renaissance to the Present Day, edited by Monique Mosser and Georges Teyssot, 103–5. London: Thames & Hudson, 2000.

Image from: Vredeman de Vries, Hans. Hortorvm viridariorvmqve: elegantes & multiplicis formae ad architectonicae artis normam affabrè. Antwerp: Gallaeus, 1583.

 

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