November 22nd, 2006
In the mean time I have been digging up some more information on the architect mentioned in my previous post: T. Henry Reetz, though it is hard to really get a grip on this architect.
He was born in France, in 1685, and probably moved to Berlin soon after. He must have had an early talent for drawing, because the first architectural drawings we know of are dated 1695 -he was ten years old then. In 1706 he is enlisted in the Brandenburg army, as an architect and engineer. On the 5th of July 1706, Reetz was ordered by the “Geheimen Rat” (secret counsil) to draw reconstruction plans for the Moritzburg in Halle. The drawings have survived, but there are no signs that the plans have actually been executed. In 1707 he traveled into Italy, and after 1713 (the year the Prussian king Frederick I died and in which Hofarchitekt Johann Friedrich Eosander left the court as well) Reetz went to Paris.
It was not until 1725 that Reetz received the title königlichen Hofarchitekt in Hannover. Ten years later Reetz is not able to work anymore, because of his health, though he recovered enough by 1740 to build his own home in Hannover. There are no other signs of Reetz at work in the last 30 years before his death in 1765.
It is believed Reetz himself arranged the collection of 245 drawings now kept in Hannover. They show a miriad of designs, copies of designs by others, etc. Among these are drawings of the Gardenfacade of the Potsdamer Stadtschloss, series of statues of Brandenburger rulers and garden designs for gardens in Potsdam. The collection forms a welcome source of information, because it contains copies of designs of which the originals have been lost.
Reetz is mainly known to have reconstructed or rebuilt existing buildings. Some designs have never been executed, like the one for a new Orangerie at Herrenhausen in Hannover (1725). The four designs he made for the gardens in Holland which Frederick I had set his eyes on, fit in this pattern.
On a side note: the discovery that the Cascade website claims, is mentioned in print as early as 2002, in the publication I have been using to find out more about Reetz. 1)Bernd Adam, ‘Bemerkungen zu Zeichnungen des Berliner Architekten und Ingenieurs T. Henry Reetz’, in: G. Hinterkeuser, Aspekte der Kunst und Architektur in Berlin um 1700, Potsdam 2002, pp156-171, on page 165. In note 76 the Het Loo drawing is called a ground plan, thus suggesting that the gardens of Het Loo really looked like that in 1706. As the nearest ground plan available up till now dates from 1725, it is impossible to confirm whether that is true or not. In 2007, parts of the restored gardens of Het Loo, that could not be restored before, will be restored according to the Reetz map.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Bernd Adam, ‘Bemerkungen zu Zeichnungen des Berliner Architekten und Ingenieurs T. Henry Reetz’, in: G. Hinterkeuser, Aspekte der Kunst und Architektur in Berlin um 1700, Potsdam 2002, pp156-171, on page 165.|