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Louis XIV’s Manière de montrer les jardins de Versailles As Unknown View

William Roberts

Roberts, William, "Louis XIV’s Manière de montrer les jardins de Versailles As Unknown View", dans Cahiers du XVIIe siècle, 1991, vol. V, 1.

Extrait de l’article

In the month of July 1689 the exiled queen of England - Marie-Beatrix d’Este, wife of James II - came to see Versailles. According to Dangeau, Louis XIV himself ordered a short itinerary to be drawn up for her visit to the gardens. This was to be the first of six similar MS. texts on the subject, including one written in the King’s own hand, hence presumably composed by him. It dates from 1702-04 but is unfortunately incomplete. The third and most interesting version consisting of 26 paragraphs which is considered to be from 1691-1695, was copied by a royal Secretary, and has since been published. From the same period, we have recently discovered the Harvard Library Map Collection, a large engraving entitles "Veüe...de Versailles," issued by A. Schoonbeek in Amsterdam in 1693, and apparently not reproduced since then. We shall relate the King’s walking directions to this panoramic engraving, by referring [in square brackets] to its key letters. In a further coincidence, at Versailles, there have been preserved two sets of garden paintings done by Jean Cotelle, the King’s miniaturist, and dated c. 1693. We shall describe these and other contemporary illustrations of the garden groves (bosquets), in an attempt to reconstruct verbally the experience of late 17th c. visitors who might have followed the prescribed itinerary.

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