Synopses & Reviews
An immersive horticultural tour of Marie Antoinettes domain, the lavishly constructed gardens at Versailles, accompanied by eighteenth-century illustrations. Marie Antoinette took over the splendid former residence of Madame de Pompadour, transforming the gardens into an enchanted landscape. Using archival documents and architect Richard Miques original plans from 1777, Elisabeth de Feydeau re-creates the fanciful herbarium, taking the reader on a journey through Marie Antoinettes estate, just as the queen would have walked it. The reader is invited to stroll from the French Gardens, with their beds of hyacinth, buttercups, and anemones, via the winding paths of the Anglo-Chinese Gardens, through the conifers of the Belvedere Gardens—where fabulous late-night parties were hosted—and past the entrancing aromas of the shrubs surrounding the Temple of Love, to the wildflowers of the Garden of Solitude. Written under the guidance of Alain Baraton, head gardener at Versailles, de Feydeaus fascinating reconstruction plunges the reader into the eighteenth century, showcasing newly discovered species of the period, describing the cosmetic uses of many of the gardens plants, and recounting vivid anecdotes from the royal court. The volume is illuminated by delicate illustrations of the herbarium by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, a designer and painter for Marie Antoinettes cabinet.
A horticultural tour of Marie-Antoinettes domain, the lavishly constructed gardens at Versailles, accompanied by eighteenth-century archival illustrations. Plants, flowers, and trees were Marie-Antoinettes passion; she transformed the Petit Trianons gardens into an enchanted escape from the oppressive shackles of Versailles. Based on archival documents, this book meanders through Marie-Antoinettes estate as the queen herself would have walked it: traversing hyacinths, buttercups, and anemones in the French Gardens, via winding paths in the Anglo-Chinese Gardens, through the conifers of the Belvedere Gardens—where fabulous nocturnal parties were hosted—past the entrancing aromas of the shrubs surrounding the Temple of Love, to the wildflowers of the Garden of Solitude. This fascinating reconstruction includes descriptions of the cosmetic and medicinal uses of the gardens plants, anecdotes from the royal court, and watercolors of the herbarium.
About the Author
Historian and perfume specialist Élisabeth de Feydeau has published books on perfume. She teaches at the École des Parfumeurs in Versailles. Catherine Pégard is the president of the Établissement Public du Château, du Musée, et du Domaine National de Versailles.