• Orangery

Tag: Orangery Greenhouse

An orangery or orangerie was a building in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and given a classicising architectural

The orangerie of the Royal Castle of Laeken, Belgium (ca.1820), are the oldest part of the monumental Royal Greenhouses of Laeken.

 form. The orangery was similar to a greenhouse or conservatory. The name reflects the original use of the building as a place where citrus trees[1] were often wintered in tubs under cover, surviving through harsh frosts. The orangery provided a luxurious extension of the normal range and season of woody plants, extending the protection which had long been afforded by the warmth offered from a masonry fruit wall.[2] A century after the use for orange and lime trees had been established, other varieties of tender plants, shrubs and exotic plants also came to be housed in the orangery, which often gained a stove for the upkeep of these delicate plants in the cold winters of northern Europe. As imported citrus fruit, pineapples and other tender fruit became generally available and much cheaper, orangeries were used more for tender ornamental plants.

The orangery originated from the Renaissance gardens of Italy, when glass-making technology enabled sufficient expanses of clear glass to be produced. In the north, the Dutch led the way in developing expanses of window glass in orangeries, though the engravings illustrating Dutch manuals showed solid roofs, whether beamed or vaulted, and in providing stove heat rather than open fires.[3] This soon created a situation where orangeries became symbols of status among the wealthy. The glazed roof, which afforded sunlight to plants that were not dormant, was a development of the early nineteenth century. The orangery at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire, which had been provided with a slate roof as originally built about 1702,[4] was given a glazed one about a hundred years later, after Humphrey Repton remarked that it was dark; though it was built to shelter oranges, it has always simply been called the "greenhouse" in modern times.[5]

The 1617 Orangerie (now Musée de l'Orangerie) at the Palace of the Louvre, inspired imitations that culminated in Europe's largest orangery. Designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart for Louis XIV's 3,000 orange trees at Versailles, its dimensions of 508 feet (155 m) by 42 feet (13 m) were not eclipsed until the development of the modern greenhouse in the 1840s, and were quickly overshadowed by the glass architecture of Joseph Paxton. Notable for his 1851 design of the Crystal Palace, his "great conservatory" at Chatsworth House was an orangery and glass house of monumental proportions.

The orangery, however, was not just a greenhouse but a symbol of prestige and wealth and a feature of gardens, in the same way as a summerhouse, folly or "Grecian temple". Owners would conduct their guests there on tours of the garden to admire not only the fruits within but the architecture without. Often the orangery would contain fountains, grottos, and an area in which to entertain in inclement weather.

Earliest examples

As early as 1545 an orangery was built in Padua, Italy. The first orangeries were practical and not as ornamental as they later became. Most had no heating other than open fires.[citation needed]

In England, John Parkinson introduced the orangery to the readers of his Paradisus in Sole (1628), under the heading "Oranges". The trees might be planted against a brick wall and enclosed in winter with a plank shed covered with "cerecloth", a waxed precursor of tarpaulin.[6] "For that purpose, some keepe them in great square boxes, and lift them to and fro by iron hooks on the sides, or cause them to be rowled by trundels, or small wheeles under them, to place them in a house or close gallery"—which must have been thought handsomer than the alternative.

The building of orangeries became most widely fashionable after the end of the Eighty Years' War in 1648. The countries that started this trend were France, Germany, and the Netherlands, these countries being the ones that saw merchants begin importing large numbers of orange trees, banana plants, and pomegranates to cultivate for their beauty and scent.[citation needed]

Construction materials

Orangeries were generally built facing south to take advantage of the maximum possible light, and were constructed using brick or stone bases, brick or stone pillars and a corbel gutter. They also featured large, tall windows to maximise available sunlight in the afternoons, with the north facing walls built without windows in a very heavy solid brick, or occasionally with much smaller windows to be able to keep the rooms warm. Insulation at these times was one of the biggest concerns for the building of these orangeries, straw became the main material used, also many had wooden shutters fitted to keep in the warmth. An early example of the type of construction can be seen at Kensington Palace, which also featured underfloor heating [7]

Contemporary domestic orangeries are also typically built using stone, brick and hardwood, but developments in glass, other materials, and insulation technologies have produced viable alternatives to traditional construction.[8] The main difference with a conservatory is in the construction of its roof - a conservatory will have more than 75 per cent of its roof glazed, while an orangery will have less than 75 per cent glazed. Domestic orangeries also typically feature a roof lantern. Improved design and insulation has also lead to an increasing number of orangeries that are not built facing south, instead using light maximising techniques to make the most of available natural sunlight.

Early orangeries

The first examples were basic constructions and could be removed during summer. Notably not only noblemen but also wealthy merchants, e.g., those of Nuremberg, used to cultivate citrus plants in orangeries.[9] Some orangeries were built using the garden wall as the main wall of the new orangery, but as orangeries became more and more popular they started to become more and more influenced by garden designers and architects, which led to the connection between the house and architectural orangery design. This became further influenced by the increased demand for beautiful exotic plants in the garden, which could be grown and looked after in the orangeries.

This created the increased demand in garden design for the wealthy to have their own exotic private gardens, further fuelling the status of the orangery becoming even more the symbol of the elite.[9] This in turn created the need for orangeries to be constructed using even better techniques such as underfloor heating and the ability to have opening windows in the roofs for ventilation. Creating microclimates for the propagation of more and more exotic plants for the private gardens that were becoming creations of beauty all around Europe.

Continental European orangeries

Orangerie at Finspång Castle, Sweden (1832)


  • Belvedere, Vienna
  • Schönbrunn, Vienna


  • Versailles Orangerie, in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles
  • Strasbourg, park of the Orangerie
  • Tuileries: Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens, Paris


  • Laeken, Orangerie of the Royal Castle of Laeken (ca. 1820)


  • Düsseldorf-Benrath, Orangerie
  • Fulda, Orangerie
  • Gera, Orangery and "Küchengarten"
  • Hanover, a part of the Herrenhausen Gardens
  • Ingolstadt, Orangerie in Harderstraße 10
  • Kassel, Orangerie
  • Philippsthal, Orangerie
  • Potsdam, Orangerieschloss (illustration, above right)
  • Bronnbach abbey in Wertheim am Main, (1773–1775)


  • Warsaw, Stara Pomarańczarnia (en: Old Orangery; built 1786–1788) and Nowa Pomarańczarnia (en: New Orangery; built 1860) in the Royal Baths park


  • Peterhof, Bolshaya Kamennya Oranzhereya
  • Tsarskoe Selo, Bolshaya Oranzhereya (1762, 1820)
  • Kuskovo, Moscow, Oranzhereya (illustration, right)


  • Finspång Castle Orangerie 1832
  • Nynäs Slott, Manorial Estate (Castle) and Orangery, Nynäs
  • Botaniska trädgården (Uppsala) Linneanum – The Orangery, Botanical Garden, Uppsala University 1787
  • Linnéträdgården, Uppsala
  • Bergianska trädgården, Stockholm, gamla orangeriet, now used as a restaurant
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