Reviews - What do customers think about Views and Plans of the Petit Trianon at Versailles?
Five stars for the little Trianon Jul 17, 2001
The little Trianon and gardens have been almost as legendary as it's designer-creator, Queen Marie Antoinette of France. It's here, in this paradoxical, magical realm, where the initial notion, the vicarious allure, for this oh! so tragic a woman has been forged. In this book the reader gets a unique and unexpected first hand gift from the so often missunderstood and enigmatic queen. For 'Views and Plans of the Petit Trianon at Versailles' is the work of Marie Antoinette herself. This one album she thought of, as she strolled about with Fersen or her beloved duchess of Polignac. Here is where she lived and entertained so memorably. The first Trianon was built by Luis XIV for Madame de Maintenon (for a great article on Maintenon look up Luis Auchincloss' 'False Dawn') the petit Trianon was built for Madame de Pompadour(who never saw it finished) by Luis XV. Though the chateau and gardens where re-interpreted by Marie Antoinette when Luis XVI offered it to her later. 'Views and Plans of the Petit Trianon at Versailles' with an introduction and content by Pierre Arizzoli-Clement, dedicated to the memory of Pierre de Nolhac (original Marie Antoinette biographer) is a curious book. As I waited for the postman I imagined the book was perhaps a good collection of modern photographs, and maps. It turned out to be so much more! It's a faithful copy of souvenier albums Marie Antoinette used to offer her most august guests. It contains copies of original XVIIIc graphic maps of the interior and exteriors and little theater, etc of the petit Trianon.Also water color expressions of the gardens, the belvedere, the hameau, etc. Beauty and talent rules here. There is a depth and an originality here that's at odds with the overall notion of the wretched queen. So often dissed as the 'feather head' spendtrift. What were Marie Antoinette's intellectual powers, one is bound to ask oneself, specially after admiring her taste and savvy in decoration and design? It's true her riches were wrought by the sweat of many. Was she consciously aware of it? Was she just following a pattern? Is there something she could have done to prevent her bloody end? How much did she understand of the government of France a dinnosaur about to dissapear in quicksand? Was she smart enough to foretell that an end to the feudal system would cause opprobium and death to her, her husband and children? What did she say to Mirabeau that fateful morning at Saint-Cloud, that had such an effect on him, were hers the words of a silly and fatuous woman? Her smooth machinations at the Tuilleries. As her spending, she spent no more or less than Pompadour, and she, not a noble, got to die serenely amid porcelain and lace. If Marie Antoinette would have died thus, I bet we wouldn't entertain the interest that so many of us have for her today. The preface is first class and offers many new pepper grains for us, watchers of Marie Antoinette. You'd get to know who got the album, what it looked like originally, who were her favorite brother and sisters, and what sister she didn't like. Buy the book. The tome is absolutely delicious and is the real work by the real girl. It could be treasured among your Olivier Bernier, Ian Dunlop, Stefan Sweig, Andre Castelot, etc, etc. Or could be given away as a smart wedding present, At first it seems somewhat somber though it soon emerges in triumph for it's originality and place in history. The direct, personal concept from one of the most
scrutinized and absorbing queens of all. For another good, if earthier, peek into her world, look up 'The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette' by Marie-France Boyer, a pictorial with photos by Francois Halard.