384 pages, illus
Presents the story of the creation of one of the most dazzling and extensive gardens - the gardens of Versailles. This book also features the friendship between Louis XIV, the creator of the garden, and Andre Le Notre, the gardener.
The Domaine Nationale de Versailles now covers 2,100 acres (about two and a half times the size of New York's Central Park) but in it's heyday under Louis, the grand parc covered an astounding 16,343 acres. Assisting Louis in all this was a lowly-born gardener, Andre Le Notre, whose character and temperament were as different from those of his sovereign as it is possible to conceive. Where Louis was ruthless and relentlessly driven, celebrating his military and amorous conquests with ever more lavish plans for his gardens, Le Notre was down to earth, witty and amiable.- and phenomenally talented. While Louis could strike fear into the highest in the land with just a look, Le Notre enjoyed the king's trust and friendship for more than 40 years.
In this lavishly illustrated book, Ian Thompson tells more comprehensively then ever before the intertwined stories of an extraordinary garden and an extraordinary friendship.
'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
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Ian Thompson studied Philosophy at the University of Newcastle (1974-77), and later completed a B. Phil and Ph. D. in Landscape Architecture. After qualifying as a landscape architect he worked in practice first in Glasgow and then on Tyneside. Between 1986 and 1992 he was a Senior Landscape Architect in the Planning Department of Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council. He currently teaches postgraduate Landscape Architecture at Newcastle University.