WOBO: Search for words and phrases in the texts here...

Enter either the ID of an entry, or one or more words to find. The first match in each paragraph is shown; click on the line of text to see the full paragraph.

Currently only Chalmers’ Biographical Dictionary is indexed, terms are not stemmed, and diacritical marks are retained.

comptroller of the royal edifices of France, and an eminent planner of gardens,

, comptroller of the royal edifices of France, and an eminent planner of gardens, was born at Paris in 1613. We know little of him, except that he was brought up as a gardener under his father, until about 1653, when he was first employed by the superintendant Fouquet, to lay out the magnificent gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte, celebrated by La Fontaine in his poems. In this work he was the creator of those porticoes, covered walks, grottoes, labyrinths, &c. which then were thought the greatest ornaments of gardens, and particularly gratified the taste of Louis XIV. who employed him in the decoration of his favourite residences at Versailles, Trianon, Fontainbleau, &c. Le Nostre went to Rome in 1678, and afterwards travelled through Italy; and it is said he found nothing in the most celebrated gardens equal to what he had himself executed. While at Rome, pope Innocent XI, was desirous of seeing le Notre, and gave him a long audience, at the conclusion of which the latter exclaimed, “I have now seen the two greatest men in the world your holiness, and the king, my master” “There is a great difference between them,” replied the pope “the king is a great and victorious prince, and I am a poor priest, servant of the servants of God.” Le Notre, delighted with this answer, and forgetting by whom it was made, clapped his hand on the pope’s shoulder, saying, “My reverend father, you are in good health, and will bury all the sacred college;” and Le Notre, more and more charmed with the sovereign pontiff’s kindness, and the particular esteem he expressed for the king, fell upon his neck, and embraced him. It was his custom thus to embrace all who praised Louis XIV.; and he embraced that prince himself every time he returned from the country. He was some time in England, and, probably on the invitation of Charles II. laid out St. James’s and Greenwich parks. In 1675, when he was again in France, his long services were rewarded by letters of noblesse, and the cross of St. Michael. The king would have given him a coat of arms, but he replied that he had one already, “consisting of three snails surmounted by a cabbage.” At the age of four-score he desired permission to retire, which the king granted him, on condition that he would sometimes come and see him. He died at Paris, in 1700, at the age of 87. He is said to have had a fine taste for the arts in general, especially for that of painting; and some pieces of his execution are mentioned as existing in the royal cabinet.