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History of Early American Landscape Design

Anne-Marguerite Hyde de Neuville

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Anne-Marguérite-Henriette Rouillé de Marigny Hyde de Neuville (1771?— September 14, 1849) was an amateur French watercolorist best known for her sketches of the people and scenery she encountered while living and traveling along the northeastern seaboard of the United States during the first decades of the nineteenth century. Her carefully recorded observations are virtually unique during this period and provide invaluable historical and ethnological information. [1]; [2]


[4] Watel, Françoise. 1997. Jean-Guillaume Hyde de Neuville (1776-1857): Conspirateur et Diplomate. Paris : Peter Lang. 87-88. </ref>

Burstyn, 1996, 73-74; da Costa Nunes, 1984, 3, 9-10 , and passim; Sturtevant, 1980, 338-43>
Born into an aristocratic French family, Anne-Marguérite-Henriette Rouillé de Marigny fled Paris at the outbreak of the French Revolution and in 1794 married Jean-Guillaume Hyde de Neuville (1776-1857), an ardent royalist and political activist. Exiled from France by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, the couple spent several nomadic years in Europe before sailing to New York in 1807 with a letter of introduction to Thomas Jefferson. <Looney, 2008, 405; Watel, 1997, 5-39; da Costa Nunes 1984, 1-3> Hyde de Neuville’s delicate pencil and watercolor sketches and her husband’s journal entries record their observations while voyaging up the Hudson River to Niagara Falls and on subsequent trips to Connecticut and New Jersey. <Deák, 2013, 1-5; Hyde de Neuville, 1892, 1: 452-61> Whereas her husband commented frequently on the spectacular natural scenery, her drawings focused on the transformation of the American wilderness into a domesticated environment through the development of towns and country estates. She sketched the homes of several of her friends (many of them also French émigrés), including General Jean Victor Marie Moreau and the industrialist and amateur botanist Éleuthère Irénée du Pont. She made botanical studies of plants encountered on her travels, carefully recording, for example, a pale purple flower spotted on the banks of the Brandywine River during a visit to DuPont’s house and powder mill on September 6, 1810 (New York Historical Society).

After purchasing land on the Genessee River in New York State, the Hyde de Neuvilles established a farm called La Bergerie (“The Sheep Farm”). They spent winters in New York City, where they founded the École Économique, a school for French refugee children. <Deak, 2013, 5-11; Watel, 1997, 71-73> In 1811 the couple purchased land outside New Brunswick, New Jersey. There, they built a house and—in emulation of DuPont—raised Merino sheep, a type recently introduced to America, whose extremely fine fleece had launched a “Merino craze.” <Deak, 2013, 13; Watel, 1997, 51-52; Burstyn, 1996, 73; da Costa Nunes, 1984, 14> Following the abdication of Napoleon in 1814, Hyde de Neuville resettled briefly in France but she returned to America from 1816 to 1822 while her husband (who was created a baron in 1820) served as French ambassador to the United States. <Deak, 2013, 15> From 1821 until 1823, Hyde de Neuville and her husband were the first in a long line of diplomats and statesmen to rent the Stephen Decatur House, the earliest private residence built in the immediate area of the White House. <Treese, 2014; Schuldt, 2000, 51> Several of her pencil and watercolor sketches document the development of the neighborhood, then known as “President’s Square” (now Lafayette Square), as one of the most fashionable and socially prominent areas of the capital city. Although her busy social and diplomatic life led to a decline in the volume of sketches, Hyde de Neuville continued to document highlights of her American experience. These ranged from an unusual flower specimen presented to her in 1816 by the Portuguese botanist and friend of Jefferson, José Correia da Serra (1750-1823) (New York Historical Society) to a drawing of the original family burial vault of George Washington at Mount Vernon, which had become a national shrine in the decades that preceded monuments to the deceased president in Baltimore and Washington. Hers is the only known representation of the interior of the tomb, with the stacked coffins visible beyond the open door. <da Costa Nunes, 1984, 29> Hyde de Neuville’s husband shared her interest in documenting aspects of the New World. In 1816, he commissioned a number of French naturalists-- Jacques Gérard Milbert (1766-1840), Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1846)and two graduates of the École Économique, Philippe (1800-1899) and Alexandre (1798-1876) Ricord—to collect specimens of indigenous American botanical and zoological specimens for the Museum of Natural History in Paris. (Liebersohn, 2001, 83; Monod, 1895, 3-5)


F Street, Forest House, Greenwich Street, Moreau House, Mount Vernon, White House


Arcade, Arch, Avenue, Drive, Fence, Gate/Gateway, Lawn, Piazza/Veranda/Porch/Portico, Pot, Seat, Square, Statue, Vase/Urn, Walk, Wall, Yard



  1. Françoise Watel, Jean-Guillaume Hyde de Neuville (1776-1857): Conspirateur et Diplomate (Paris : Peter Lang, 1997), 87-88.view on Zotero
  2. John N. Burstyn, Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996), 73-74. view on Zotero
  3. Lounsbury, Carl R., ed. 1994. An Illustrated Glossary of Early Southern Architecture and Landscape. New York: Oxford University Press. view on Zotero
  4. <Vaux, George. “Extracts from the Diary of Hannah Callender.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 12, no. 1 (1888): 432–56. [1]

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History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Anne-Marguerite Hyde de Neuville," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Anne-Marguerite_Hyde_de_Neuville&oldid=4255 (accessed January 30, 2023).

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