The Pleasures of the 18th Century Garden

21st of May 2015

In 2010, the Léon Courtin – Marcelle Bouché Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation acquired a remarkable collection of Brussels and European earthenware from the Braun-van den Corput Collection. The five pieces exhibited at the Château de Seneffe museum are part of this collection.

The exhibition « Les Plaisirs des Jardins au XVIIIe siècle » centres on two characteristic themes of society during the Enlightenment, notably the return to nature and life’s pleasures. It looks at how such interest manifested itself in life in the garden and outdoors, as well as the Age of Reason’s four key ideas: science and reason, the expression of sensitivity and love of humanity, the return to nature and the pleasures of life. It is within this context that the four earthenware terrines – respectively in the forms of a turkey, a rabbit, a lettuce and a melon, as well as a decorative trompe-l’œil, also in the form of a yellow melon – are exhibited.

The five pieces from the Fund’s collection and earthenware in the forms of animals, vegetables and fruits, are not only striking examples of the interest of the period in the flora and fauna; they also fall within the theme of happiness. The search for happiness, especially through luxury, was a widespread notion during the 18th century. The garden and the outdoors were sources of pleasure and relaxation and it was for this that every effort was made to integrate them into interiors through, for instance, paintings of gardens, decorative objects and luxury earthenware tableware. This represented a way of enjoying the pleasures of the garden inside the home.

The exhibition at the Château de Seneffe is open until November 15, 2015.