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F. Hamilton Hazlehurst

(b Paris, March 12, 1613; d Paris, Sept 15, 1700).

French garden designer and collector. He was outstanding in his time for his innovation and skill in garden design, particularly in his work at Vaux-le-Vicomte, Versailles, and Chantilly, and his ardent disciples carried his gardening principles throughout France and beyond, so spreading his influence. Popular among contemporaries, he also enjoyed a special relationship with the traditionally aloof Louis XIV, who bestowed upon him the Order of St Lazare (later replaced by the even more prestigious Order of St Michel), a coat of arms, and, on his retirement, a princely pension. Although the original spelling of his name was Le Nostre, by the late 20th century the form of Le Nôtre had gained most currency.

His career was doubtless determined at an early age, since his grandfather, Pierre, and his father, Jean, were both royal gardeners, who worked principally at the Palais des Tuileries. He was thus initiated into gardening practice by his father and a coterie of distinguished gardeners that included Claude Mollet (i) (...