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The Sun King's Garden: Louis XIV, Andre le Notre and the Creation of the Gardens of Versailles Hardcover – October 31, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Lavishly and intelligently illustrated...the best account currently available in English of how and why this extraordinary prodigy of gardening art and regal vanity came into existence.' Sunday Telegraph 'Lively and well researched, studded with anecdotes and fascinating statistics.' Daily Telegraph 'A superb account...the book is as delightful and masterly as the project it describes.' The Spectator --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A former professional landscape architect himself, Ian Thompson now is a lecturer in landscape architecture at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The Sun King's Garden is his first book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582346313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582346311
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Heiler on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What I really appreciate about this book is that it is NOT just a description and summary of Versailles and it's gardens. Ian Thompson does a great job describing the context in which Versailles was built as well as the many characters involved and their relationship to one another. You really learn about the personalities of King Louis and Le Notre and how they related to one another. I think you will also see King Louis in a different light than from a typical historical perspective because this book is more about the gardens of Versailles. The paintings and drawings included in this book are also terrific.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will tell you all you wanted to know about Le Notre's experience and thinking, all about King's personality and ideas, a lot about the Versalles garden design. What I miss in this book - just more details on the chronology and the detailed description of the garden features and their detailed alterations through the time. This book gives broad understanding of the time and society, traditions, philosophy, it even gives the details of how garden works used to be done than. The visuals are all from the respective periods - drawings, graphics, maps, etc., some are colored. No photos.
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Format: Hardcover
There is obviously very little existing information on the life of Le Notre. The author of this book stretches and pads what does to extraordinary lengths in this largish book. We learn a few new things,such as the lengths that were gone to to alleviate the desperate need for a constant supply of water etc. but the much of this book is hardly new territory if you have already indulged your interest in the gardens of Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. I have long admired what Le Notre achieved, although very little is left of his original plantings now, all have been extremely modified and simplified over the passage of time, ...if not outright fanciful re-creations. I was hoping to learn more about the life of this man and his talent for the harmony, structure and balance that we can glimpse the merest palimpsest remaining in those gardens that do still exist.
However, this work, although obviously quite well researched has not managed to find very much at all about Le Notre himself, other than where he lived an who he married really; certainly not enough to warrant a book of this length.
It's an "OK" read for devotees of the Ancien Regime, ...of which I am most certainly one, and indeed I wanted to enjoy the work but I found it all a bit "light weight" really, going over as it does so much of what has already been printed. This may be due to the fact that I have already read fairly extensively on this subject, but if it's new to you then you will gain some insight into the incredible lengths that were pursued to create a massive garden in a most inauspicious location.
Just remember that what you see there today is NOT Le Notre's work at all and in fact probably only reflects the merest outline of the original plantings; ...
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Format: Hardcover
Louis XIV was fortunite in his association with the great Le Notre or I should say he was lucky to have the power of the devine right monarch, so he could steal him from Fouquet and Vieux le Vicomte to work on his Vallala, Versailles. Louis was king incarnate, he was the state, period, the epitome, the very definition of the devine, absolute monarch, and he knew exactly what he wanted and with the genius of Le Notre he created a garden that was and to this day still is the envey of the world. This book does a fine job of capturing Le Notre's gardens at Versailles at their best. The text is enlightening and the images are well conceived. If you have any interest in Versailles or French Formal Gradens, the I highly recommend this book.
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