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The Orangery: A Brief History


It's fairly common to buy something and not necessarily know the history behind it. Just because we like something, doesn't mean we know its life history and the same applies to orangeries. An orangery is a magnificent piece of architecture and is becoming an increasingly popular feature on residential properties. To keep you up to date with where the orangery first originated and the history behind them, we have put together an interesting and may we add educational blog post this week.

In the Beginning

The orangery originates from the Renaissance gardens of Italy and the first one was constructed as early as 1545 in Padua, Italy. The first orangeries were mainly for practical use as opposed to the ornamental ones that were later made and most had no heating other than open fires. The making of orangeries became increasingly more popular after the end of the Eighty Years' War in 1648. It was mainly France, Germany and the Netherlands that started the orangery trend as these countries saw merchants importing large quantities of orange trees, banana plants and pomegranates. Some orangeries were built using the garden wall as the main wall of the new orangery, but as they became more popular they started to become influenced by garden designers and architects.

The Evolving Orangery

Over time the orangery became a building within the ground of fashionable residences up until the 19th century and oozed outstanding architectural form. The orangery was similar to greenhouse or a conservatory and a symbol of prestige and wealth, not to mention a striking feature of a garden. Owners would conduct tours of their gardens to their fellow guests to admire not only the fruits but the breath taking architecture.

Construction Materials

Orangeries were generally built facing south to take advantage of as much light as possible and were constructed using brick, stone bases and stone pillars. They also featured tall windows to gain as much sunlight as possible during the afternoons. One of the main concerns when building an orangery was the lack of insulation, straw was the primary material used and many orangeries had wooden shutters fitted to keep in the warmth. Contemporary domestic orangeries are also typically built from stone, brick and hardwood, but developments in glass and insulation technologies have produced viable alternatives to traditional construction. Due to the improvement in the design and insulation, an increasing number of orangeries are no longer south facing; instead light maximising techniques are used.

Today's Orangery

Modern orangeries may be much smaller than their predecessor but they are designed to incorporate many original features and bring a stylish yet practical addition to the home. An orangery can provide a home with a light, airy, yet warm living space as well as adding value to your home. Whether you're looking to bring the outside in or use the space to entertain guests, an orangery is an excellent addition to the family.

If you are interested in building an orangery please feel free to contact us on 01953 600505 or come into one of our showrooms in Diss or Wymondham.

Inside of a modern orangery