PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE DESERT DE RETZ
1976-2012


Temple of Pan by Michael Kenna with Reflections
Temple of Pan by Michael Kenna with Reflections, 2016

Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida

The color photographs on this page were taken at the Desert de Retz between 1976 and 2012. The Desert de Retz is an outstanding example of a Jardin Anglo-chinois or folly garden and was created in the late 18th century by François Racine de Monville.

First time visitor to this site? Start here to learn more about the Desert de Retz and Monsieur de Monville.

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All photography on this site copyright © Ronald W. Kenyon except where indicated. All rights reserved. Copying without the written authorization of the author represents infringement of copyright and is expressly forbidden. Links to this website are welcome.

Click on any small image to view an enlargement.

View a Flickr set of thirteen photographs of the Désert de Retz taken by Ronald W. Kenyon on July 5, 2012, depicting each of the extant structures.

Column House 1905

Monsieur de Monville's Column House as it appeared in 1905, when it was inhabited by the family of Frédéric Passy. Photo courtesy Le Désert de Retz Jardin des Lumières. Used with permission.

Desert de Retz View from Column House, 1997

Desert de Retz Inside Column House, 1997

Photos taken from inside Monsieur de Monville's Column House, October 1997. © Susan Ferguson

Desert de Retz Temple of Pan Closeup, 1976

Desert de Retz Temple of Pan, 1976

Temple of Pan, Autumn 1976

Desert de Retz, Temple of Pan Infrared Color, 1981

Desert de Retz Temple of Pan, 1998

Temple of Pan, 1981 - Color shift using Kodak Ektachrome Infrared film

Temple of Pan, November 1998.

Desert de Retz, Temple of Pan, 2003

Desert de Retz Tente Tartare (reconstruction), 2003

Temple of Pan, June 2003

Tartar Tent (reconstruction), June 2003

Desert de Retz, Pyramid icehouse, 1981

Desert de Retz Pyramid icehouse, 1998

Pyramid icehouse, 1981 Pyramid icehouse, November 1998

Desert de Retz Pyramid icehouse, side view, June 2003

Desert de Retz Pyramid icehouse, front view, June 2003

Pyramid icehouse, side view, June 2003 Pyramid icehouse, front view, June 2003

Desert de Retz Gothic church, 1998

Desert de Retz Gothic church, June 2003

Church of Saint Jacques-Saint Christophe, November 1998 Church of Saint Jacques-Saint Christophe, June 2003

Desert de Retz Column House, November 1998

Desert de Retz, Column House, June 2003

Column House, November 1998 Column House, June 2003

Desert de Retz Théâtre Découvert, June 2003

Desert de Retz, Tunnel, June 2003

Open-Air Theater, June 2003 Tunnel to Column House, June 2003

Desert de Retz Temple de Repos, June 2003

Desert de Retz, Petit Autel Presque Ruiné, June 2003

Temple of Repose, June 2003 Little Altar (Petit Autel Presque Ruiné), June 2003

Desert de Retz,  Rockery Entrance (Forêt de Marly Entrance), November 1998

Rockery Entrance (Forêt de Marly Entrance) to the Desert de Retz, November 1998

Desert de Retz Temple of Repose, October 2008

Desert de Retz, Open-Air Theater (Théâtre Découvert), October 2008

Temple of Repose, October 2008 © Gerard Peet Open-Air Theater (Théâtre Découvert), October 2008 © Gerard Peet

Desert de Column House, Little Altar, Roe Deer, October 2008

Desert de Retz, Temple de Pan, October 2008

Column House, Little Altar, Roe Deer, October 2008 © Gerard Peet Temple of Pan, October 2008 © Gerard Peet


View eight beautiful monochrome photographs of the Desert de Retz by Michael Kenna
The photographs were taken in 1998 and 1993. For your convenience, these images will appear in a new browser window.

Temple of Pan. Pyramid Icehouse.
Gothic Church. Temple of Repose.
Column House. Open-air Theater.
Spiral Staircase, Column House. Column House, from the Temple of Pan.

View all twenty-three photographs. Read an interview with Michael Kenna from the November/December, 1998 issue of View Camera magazine.


The Courtauld Institute in London sponsors an online Art and Architecture website containing a generous selection of images from the extensive collection in the Conway Library. Included in the Conway collections is a page about the Desert de Retz. The series includes nine images of the Desert de Retz, including six monochrome photographs by A. Braham showing the Temple of Pan, the Pyramid and the Column House, and three architectural drawings of the Column House.

Don't miss these eight beautiful color photographs of the Desert de Retz and nine of the Parc de Jeurre by "ALEXIS-Cela-etant." Mémoire de fin d'étude ENSAD 1999.


View satellite photographs of Monsieur de Monville's Column House from Google Maps and Live Maps on the Virtual Globetrotting website.


These twelve monochrome photographs of the Désert de Retz in winter were taken by Hervé Jézéquel.


This Album Désert de Retz contains nine color photographs of the Gothic Church, the Pyramid and the Column House that were taken on November 21, 2005 by Wallace Morkitu.


Canadian Artist-Photographer Katy McCormick held an exposition in Toronto from May 4 to June 3, 2006, displaying her color photographs of the Desert de Retz under the title The World in a Folly Garden: Dancing ‘Round the Ruins. The photographs were taken at the Désert de Retz in August 2003 and July 2004. View eleven of Katy McCormick's photos of the Désert de Retz and more of her work on her Flickr page.


View eighteen excellent color photographs of the Desert de Retz taken between January 2007 and November 2008 by Paris-based teacher,"Akteon" and posted on his Flickr page. Subjects include the Column House, the Pyramid Icehouse and the Temple of Pan.


This set of twenty-two color photographs of the Désert de Retz were taken between August 1-18, 2009, by "François" and posted on his Flickr page. Noteworthy are two views of the ruined commons.


This set of twenty-six photographs of the Désert de Retz was taken by Christopher Amy during his visit to the Désert de Retz on April 30, 2011.


View a photograph of what the Pyramid Icehouse looked like before the restorations undertaken by Olivier Choppin de Janvry and Jean-Marc Heftler-Louiche in 1986: "An amorphous, green mound of vegetation..."


This page revised November 2, 2016.

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