Garden Tents: Blue Chinese Tent by Le Rouge
One of the most evocative symbols of summer is the garden tent.
In the late eighteenth century, Europeans considered tents the most characteristic of Oriental structures and erected them prolifically in their gardens, indiscriminately labeling them as Tartar, Turkish, Siamese or Chinese. There was a kernel of truth in this notion since nomadic tents are indeed the origin of the Chinese pagoda’s characteristically concave, upturned roof—though it is highly doubtful that any European gardener of the period knew this. Ephemeral garden tents became extremely fashionable at Versailles during the reign of Louis XVI, as their ease of construction, inherent theatricality and low cost made them the perfect foil for the numerous, equally extravagant fêtes hosted by Marie-Antoinette at Trianon. Elaborate garden parties, often spanning a week’s festivities, were an ancient royal tradition and were first mounted at Versailles by Louis XIV in the late 1600s. In contrast to the baroque pomp of the Sun King, Marie-Antoinette transformed the landscape gardens of Trianon into a rustic, illuminated wonderland for her famed evening garden parties. @ Architectural Watercolors