When these incredible hybrids were exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris in 1889 they caught the attention and imagination of Claude Monet who immediately began placing orders with Latour-Marliac to supply his newly created water-garden at Giverny.
Thus began the obsession that occupied the rest of the artist's life. Several of the original hand-written invoices addressed to Monet at Giverny, can be seen on display at the gardens (together with a letter from M. Latour-Marliac chasing Monet for payment!)
The Lot-et-Garonne and Claude Monet
Monet is famous for his prolific paintings of nymphaea, or water-lilies; the picture above, for example, "Les Nymphaes", was painted in 1914 and now hangs in the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. In fact, it could be said that Monet developed an obsession with nymphaea. He once said, "It took me time to understand my nymphaea; I first planted them for pleasure without dreaming of painting them. Suddenly I felt there were fairies in my pond. I took up my brushes and palette and, since then, it has been almost my sole model."
Whilst most people with an interest in art are aware of the above, few are aware that Monet's love for these plants was started by a botanical garden here in the Lot-et-Garonne.Situated close to the confluence of the rivers Baise, Lot and Garonne, Les Ets Botaniques Latour-Marliac was founded in 1875 by Joseph Latour-Marliac (whose statue can be seen below). It was Latour-Marliac who created the first hardy hybrid nymphaea in multiple colours.
Now, over 135 years later, Les Ets Botaniques Latour-Marliac is still trading and exports its plants worldwide. It also houses the French National Collection of Nymphaea which includes 200 hardy and tropical water-lily varieties. Les Ets Botaniques Latour-Marliac is set in six acres of beautiful grounds with a lake, secluded walks, a waterfall and numerous exotic flowers and plants, like the beautiful lotus below, in addition to the dozens of water-lily ponds.
In 1904, whilst on his way to Spain, Monet came here to the Lot-et-Garonne to see for himself the source of his inspiration. Now, you can see it too! Painting-Photography-France has obtained special dispensation from Robert Sheldon, the nursery's present owner, for group visits for the purposes of painting and photographing the grounds, plants and the cultivating ponds. All that is asked of us in return is that we are respectful of the environment and that we do not obstruct the free flow of other visitors to the nursery...
We spend a whole day at Les Ets Botaniques Latour-Marliac, (taking lunch at the restaurant there). Let us help you find your spot, choose your point of view, and capture your beautiful subject in all it's glory!
For for the vast majority of our guests, the day spent at Les Ets Botaniques Latour-Marliac is the highlight of their holiday here. The images in this section may give you some idea why....
In November 2015 the UK publishing house, Garden Art Press, published a coffee table book telling the story of water-lilies and the little known, but immensely important part that Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac played in the development of water lilies as we know them today. The book, a hardback, measures 30 x 24 x 2.5 cms, uses high grade paper, and is available from all good booksellers in English or in French. The reference for the English edition is ISBN: 978187067383
Your photography host, Peter Evans, was commissioned to supply the key photographs featured in the book, the front cover for which is pictured below.