Topiary Art, peacocks and other animals

Topiary Art is something I’d seen before, even though I must admit I’d never heard the noun. My wife and I went to a wedding ceremony in Brittany last July. We were invited to this beautiful place near Combourg. Here are a few pictures including those with this Topiary Art thing I’d never heard of before.

Topiary Art, peacocks and other animals

Topiary Art
Domaine de la Haye d’irée in Brittany is the site of the former Royal glassworks and is now a venue dedicated  to weddings and other gatherings

I was stricken by the beauty of this place with architectural ornamentations from what looked like the 17th or 18th centuries. Utterly romantic. It took me a while but I was able to find more information about this place online. Here’s my translation of’s account of the domain.

Nestled on the border of Brittany and Normandy, the chateau of Haye d’Irée was remodeled in the 18th century on the remains of an old fortified castle. It was one of the most important glass production sites in the Fougères region from the 15th to the 19th century. A story that came about somewhat by chance.


Originally, it was Mr Morin, a wood merchant, who bought the Haye d’Irée shortly after the French Revolution, in 1793, and decided to build his very first glass factory there in 1803.

This brilliant idea was taken up by Mr Duplessis de Grenédan, a councillor at the Royal Court of Rennes and member of the Chamber of Deputies. He decided to enlarge it from 1806 to 1810 with the aim of producing flat glass, as at that time no one else was making it.

The goblet factory, which predates the royal glassworks, is still far from having revealed all its secrets. The book La France Pittoresque mentions, in its 1835 edition, the majesty and the aura that this glassworks occupied at the time: ‘The glass that is made here is comparable to that of the beautiful glassworks of Lyon’.

Topiary Art
Master peacock seems to be quite proud of this glorious history as he is perched on the head of an English Bulldog. A symbol of the old ties between Brittany and the British Isles?
Topiary Art
A stone frog amongst the beautiful hydrangeas, this flower is a landmark in Brittany.

Back to today’s main topic

Here we come back to Topiary Art at last.

I’ve come across some far more impressive garden landscapes in Britain and especially in Wales. The park is beautiful nonetheless, with this typical French penchant for geometry and alignment. To take this picture I had to climb on a stone wall to give a better perspective to my photo.

topiary Art
Master peacock definitely approved of my visit.

Last but not least: an areal view of the domain by drone featuring its Topiary Art and peacocks amongst other things.

Yann Gourvennec
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