cloth, 224 pp., $65.00
This book by Christian Duvernois — landscape designer, lecturer on classical gardens and member of the Friends of Versailles — gives the reader a new view on the famous, or infamous, Marie-Antoinette. It begins with the 14-year-old Madame Antoine, as she was known in the Austrian court, eventually covering Her Royal Highness, the Dauphine of France. Just four years later, with the death of Louis XV, Marie-Antoinette became Queen of France.
Marie-Antoinette had an excellent sense of gardening, and also knew how to deal with the delicate task of appointing a head gardener for the Queen's Gardens. There are wonderful photographs by François Halard, both in color and black and white, of many of Marie-Antoinette's additions. Included are fascinating accounts of daily life at Trianon, both the workings of maintaining the buildings, gardens, and fields, as well as the Queen in her routines and entertainment. The book also covers restorations in the 1990s and ends with the following remark: "Versailles, in its entire life, knew only two passionate landscape designers: the Sun King and Marie-Antoinette."
— Joan Richards, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden