£15 This talk will explore the intriguing relationship between the English and Versailles - more than any other foreigners, the English were fascinated by Versailles. Martin Lister, who visited it in
This talk will explore the intriguing relationship between the English and Versailles – more than any other foreigners, the English were fascinated by Versailles. Martin Lister, who visited it in 1698, described Versailles as the most magnificent palace ‘in all Europe’. In 1701, John Northleigh called Versailles ‘the most beautiful palace in Europe’; the garden ‘for statues, canals, groves, grotto’s, fountains, waterworks or what else may be thought delightful, far surpasses anything to be seen of this kind in Italy’. Versailles was one of the models (although not the only one) for Greenwich, Hampton Court, Boughton and many other English houses. English houses also contained the best collections of Gobelins tapestries and Sevres porcelain outside France. The true English Versailles, however, is Versailles itself; Lord Chesterfield wrote in 1751 that an hour at Versailles was worth more than three hours in a closet with the best books. Francophilia is indeed as English as Francophobia.
Dr. Philip Mansel is author of King of the World: the Life of Louis XIV, published by Allen Lane in 2019). Previous books include Louis XVIII (1981), Paris between Empires (2001), Prince of Europe: the life of Charles-Joseph de Ligne (2005) and The Eagle in Splendour: Inside the Court of Napoleon (reprint 2015). Six of his books have been translated into French. He is a co-founder of the Society for Court Studies (www.courtstudies.org) and the Levantine Heritage Foundation (www.levantineheritage.com). In 2012 he won the London Library Life in Literature award.
Copies of Philip Mansel’s biography of Louis XIV, King of the World (2019), will be on sale at the lecture at a special reduced rate.
Doors open 6.15pm, talk starts 6.30pm (inc. wine). All welcome
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