Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What is an Orangery?

Is it a greenhouse? Is it a conservatory? NO! It’s an orangery! But, what is an orangery?
Here are a few definitions of the word “orangery” to give us further clues:

1.       “building where orange trees are grown, especially a large greenhouse for use in cooler climates” – Encarta Concise English Dictionary
2.       “a place, esp. a special structure, where orange trees are cultivated” – Readers Digest Oxford Complete Word finder
3.       “a type of large conservatory where orange trees are grown” – Oxford English Dictionary
4.       “An orangery or orangerie was a building in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and given a classicising architectural form. The orangery was similar to a greenhouse or conservatory.” – Wikipedia
5.       “a warm place, as a greenhouse, in which orange trees are cultivated in cool climates.” – dictionary.reference.com

A Fruity History

From our investigations above, we can see that at least from a historical point of view, that an orangery was a construction with specific purpose – it was used to grow orange trees (or trees and plants that produce other citrus fruits) especially in cooler climates or winter months. Our Wikipedia definition gives us more insight insomuch that these “orangeries” were likely a luxury and a fashion statement of the wealthy. We can also see from various definitions that the structure was often “special” and “large”.

Rufford Abbey Orangery
Unlike a conservatory which is usually an extension of the main property, an orangery, traditionally, could be a completely separate structure. If you have ever visited places like Newstead Abbey or Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire (there are many more examples around the country) you will have likely encountered structures referred to as orangeries. The one at Newstead Abbey now functions as a beautiful wedding venue. You can really get a sense of history and scale and the kind of property and people that might have had the means for an orangery. How nice it must have been to wander down to the conservatory on a bright winter afternoon and pick some fresh, juicy fruit!
So, it’s certainly fair to say that in days gone by the orangery was a much grander affair than a conservatory or a greenhouse, but what about today?

Spot the difference

Much more closely related than they used to be, it’s perhaps a little more difficult to spot the difference between a modern orangery and conservatory, especially when companies like Foxfurd allow customers to pretty much design their own building extension – is it a conservatory, is it an orangery? Theoretically, you can call it what you like but there can still be some subtle differences.

A window to the future

The interior of a Foxfurd conservatory
The roof of the construction can often give the game away and a conservatory will usually have far Foxfurd's bespoke designs – this is not always the case. Generally speaking an orangery will also be a larger construction, retaining some of its grandeur from yesteryear.
more glazing in it than a typical orangery. The walls of a conservatory too are likely to feature more glass whereas an orangery will often feature a more elegantly designed roof – although again thanks to

Time and space

However, the lines are certainly blurred and both modern orangeries and conservatories now exist to provide homeowners with comfortable, practical, extended living space. New kitchens, dining areas and living rooms are hugely popular reasons for having an extension built and in the hurly burly of contemporary living can prove to be a relaxing oasis.

For more information about Foxfurd’s luxury orangery and conservatory design, please visit our main website.

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