Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Classical French Garden Pavillion of Your Very Own

In my fantasy, I have an old chateau in the French countryside. It has a formal garden with meticulously clipped parterres punctuated with elegant dressed limestone pavilions, like the one Hubert de Givenchy has at his chateau. In reality, my garden is tiny, wedged in a densely populated part of central Toronto, Canada’s largest metropolis. But those gardens and romantic pavilions continue to pervade my dreams….

Orangery, Le Jonchet, The Givenchy Style, Rizzoli, 1998

Mt. Vernon Style Garden Pavilion, Le Jonchet, The Givenchy Style, Rizzoli, 1998

Tower pavilion of moat, Le Jonchet, The Givenchy Style, Rizzoli, 1998

Here is a pair I made of Bristol board with marker. They are approximately a foot (30cm) tall. Part of the charm comes from the sketchily rendered details. I like to think that one day, I will overlook a similar pavilion of honey coloured Caen stone, partially covered with coral roses, in the garden of my own French chateau.

Architectural inspiration for such a pavilion lantern can come from old architectural engravings. I was inspired by the classical black and white decoration of my Fornasetti porcelain. To make this, I drew it lightly with pencil, then overdrew with black permanent marker. I cut the windows out with an X-ACTO knife. The pavilion has 16 windows, each with 8 "panes", meaning that a pavilion required carefully cutting out 128 tiny squares. This was a time consuming process requiring some concentration, so be prepared to set aside a few hours before starting this little project.
Recent Fornasetti porcelain inspired by classical architecture, 2002
vintage Fornasetti porcelain inspired by classical architecture, circa 1960

Antique architectural models are elegant, and add distinction to an interior. Bill Blass had outstanding classical examples in his Manhattan apartment. These ones however, become enchanting lanterns when lit with a candle. Romantic and charming and elegant.... The shadows cast by the tall, mullioned windows conjure up images of Versailles par nuit.

Mysterious shadows are thrown by miniature mullioned windows.

Perhaps elegantly dressed courtiers will momentarily emerge....
Finials, urns, and a Roi Soleil motif add interest to the roofline.

And what could be better than an exquisitely scaled, finely appointed garden pavilion? Why a symmetrical, matched pair, in true 18th century French style, of course!

classical obelisks and corner quoins compliment the façades

aerial view with candles

Is there is there a bal masqué within?
Imagine the mysterious echo effect of voices and court shoes clicking on cobblestones while walking through this passage.

© 2010 Square With Flair™


  1. OMG! These are brilliant! Can I link this post on my page?

  2. What a magnificent idea, you are so talented! I love these:)

  3. what a charming idea - introduced to you via Meg at p-t-d. looking forward to reading more...pucci is a favorite too - had a pair of pucci tights that I scooped from an aunt - i was quite the eccentric wearing them in high school in the seventies

  4. Your are a talented girl. These are so cute! Very good idea.

  5. Those dream pavillons bring back memories
    of a former life. Maybe I knew you then...

  6. I saw these on Pigtown's blog, but after your visit to mine today, I realise where they come from. What talent! I adore the Fornasetti china too. Like most of what he produced. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Goodness, these are absolutely magical! I especially love how they look at night. All the images are gorgeous.

    Thanks so much for your visit and your lovely comment!