[VERSAILLES, PETIT TRIANON, Chateau and Garden]. MIQUE, Richard (1728-1794), architect [and CHÂTELET, Claude-Louis (1753-1794), artist]. Recueil des plans du Petit Trianon. Par le Sr. Mique chevalier de l'ordre de St.-Michel, premier architecte honoraire, Intendant général des Btiments du Roy et de la Reine. N.p., [Paris?], 1781.
[VERSAILLES, PETIT TRIANON, Chateau and Garden]. MIQUE, Richard (1728-1794), architect [and CHÂTELET, Claude-Louis (1753-1794), artist]. Recueil des plans du Petit Trianon. Par le Sr. Mique chevalier de l'ordre de St.-Michel, premier architecte honoraire, Intendant général des Btiments du Roy et de la Reine. N.p., [Paris?], 1781.

[VERSAILLES, PETIT TRIANON, Chateau and Garden]. MIQUE, Richard (1728-1794), architect [and CHÂTELET, Claude-Louis (1753-1794), artist]. Recueil des plans du Petit Trianon. Par le Sr. Mique chevalier de l'ordre de St.-Michel, premier architecte honoraire, Intendant général des Btiments du Roy et de la Reine. N.p., [Paris?], 1781.

Broadsheets (ca. 470 x 349mm). 20 leaves. Titleleaf and endleaves with watermark "D & G BLAUW," others "J HONIG & ZONEN," each sheet mounted on a guard, comprising manuscript title page (text as above), within ink border; large folding plan (two sheets) of the entire chateau and its surrounding gardens in ink and watercolors; six architectural plans (some with two subjects, one with a hinged overslip), in ink with gray, rose-pink and pale blue washes; 7 architectural drawings (some with two subjects) of façades and cross-sections of the chateau, theater, temple and other buildings, in ink and washes (two in full color); one ink and watercolor rendering of the painted ceiling of the theater, by Mique; five full-page perspective views of the chateau, Belvédère, Temple of Love and grotto, each within black ink border and with rose-pink outer margins, by Châtelet. BINDING: Contemporary French crimson levant morocco, covers with triple gilt-ruled outer borders, spine gilt-tooled in seven compartments, six with a central pomegranate tool and small flower and leaf tools, one compartment with citron morocco label gilt-lettered "PLANS DU PETIT TRIANON," gilt inner dentelles, paste-downs and endpages of sky-blue silk. (Very minor traces of rubbing at spine extremities and corners). Red cloth protective clamshell case. IN VERY FINE ORIGINAL CONDITION INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY.


Provenance: Commissioned by Queen Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793), probably presented in 1781 to her brother Joseph II (1741-1790), Holy Roman Emperor, who visited Versailles in August 1781; Count Franz Harrach of Vienna, etched bookplate; Raphaël Esmerian, monogram bookplate (sale, Paris, Palais Galliera, 6 June 1973, lot 65, illustrated); Anonymous owner (sale, Sotheby's, New York, 1 June 1995, lot 303).

The Petit Trianon, Louis XV's small pavilion surrounded by greenhouses and a botanical garden, had been presented to the young Marie-Antoinette, the daughter of Maria Theresa and Franz I of Austria, after her marriage to Louis XVI in May 1774. The mansion house, originally created by A.J. Gabriel in 1750 for Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour, lay only a short distance from Versailles itself, but nevertheless afforded the shy young Queen a degree of privacy unobtainable at the bustling main palace and from about 1779 it became Marie-Antoinette's favorite residence and refuge, into which only the closest members of her coterie were admitted. Jealous courtiers excluded from her private gatherings spread ugly rumors about goings-on there and maliciously referred to it as "Petit Vienne" (little Vienna). The Queen soon embarked on a radical redesign of the Petit Trianon's gardens, employing the eminent painter Hubert Robert (1733-1808, student of Fragonard, Boucher and Piranesi), in the role of Dessinateur des Jardins du Roi, and the Comte de Caraman (an amateur landscape architect), under the overall supervision of the architect Richard Mique.

At the request of the Queen, who had a passionate interest in the theater, Mique designed a splendid, highly decorated theater, on an intimate scale, the subject of seven plans or drawings in the present album. In a theatrical presentation there, in September 1780, the Queen herself played the part of Colette in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's perennially popular Devin du Village. The jeu de Bague, subject of one of Châtelet's watercolors in this album, was a merry-go-round in the Chinese style, first constructed in 1776, consisting of revolving seats beneath a parasol, turned mechanically by servants in an underground chamber. This feature is no longer standing. (The 1786 Modena album includes a later view of the jeu de Bague, see Lablaude, p.151). The Temple de l'Amour, represented in the album by two plans by Mique, its architect, was completed in Fall 1778. A domed rotunda in classical style, it stood on a small island in one of the manmade lakes, connected to the mainland by two bridges. Mique's Belvédère, begun in 1778, was an octagonal tower, "a masterpiece of neo-classical perfection" (Lablaude), whose porticoes, ornamented by eight carved marble sphinxes, evoked the glories of ancient Egypt. It occupied a rock outcrop next to the artfully jutting boulders of Les Rochers, overlooking another lake.

The sumptuous, morocco-bound album provides unique and important documentation of the early phases of Marie's transformation of the Petit Trianon gardens into what became the most important manifestation of the new French taste for the jardin anglais. Instead of the regular, carefully manicured parterres and allées that had been, since Le Nôtre, hallmarks of the traditional jardin français (still in place about the pavilion), the Petit Trianon's champêtre or outlying landscape was deliberately asymmetrical, with a welter of curving paths that wound, seemingly randomly, past swathes of natural plantings, through glades and meadows crossed by meandering streams, rock outcrops, hidden grottoes, rustic cottages and partly overgrown classical temples. To this basic vocabulary of the naturalistic landscape--strongly influenced by painters such as Claude Lorrain, Nicholas Poussin and Hubert Robert, inspired by English models and the early stirrings of the romantic movement--the Queen's designers and architects would give a new, uniquely gallic interpretation. Marie-Antoinette's Petit Trianon came to constitute "undoubtedly the most complete, the most elegant, the most perfect French example of the gardens set out in the English style in the dying years of the Ancien Régime" (Pierre-André Lablaude, The Gardens of Versailles, 1995, p.156). These wonderfully elaborated gardens and their architecture, short-lived though they may have been, are precisely documented in the elegant drawings in this album. The fantastic constructions at Petit Trianon were still incomplete when all work ceased in 1789, on the very eve of the cataclysm which would cost both King and Queen their lives.

1. Mique. Plan des jardins français et champêtre du Petit-Trianon avec les masses du bâtiment. 571 x 787mm., two sheets, folding. Finely detailed plan in ink and watercolor. With key (A-Q) indicating the location of 17 different features including the Grotto, Ménagerie, Temple, Orangerie, Chapel, Pavilion, Belvédère, etc.
2. Mique. Plan des souterrains du château. Plan in ink, showing the underground portion of the chateau, the rooms carefully labeled, including one for Billiards, a storeroom for silver and plate and the guards' station. With a neatly hinged overslip for the entresol.
3. Mique. Plan du rez-de-chaussée du château. Plan in ink, with key (A-G) indicating locations of seven features including the Appartement de la Reine, the dining room, salon, etc.
4. Mique. Plan du premier étage du château. Plan in ink, with key (A-J) indicating such features as the Appartement du Roy, the rooms for the Premier valet du chambre du Roy, etc.
5. Châtelet. Vue du château du côté de l'entrée. Fine perspective view in ink and watercolor over pencil, borders in pale pink ink.
6. Mique. Two drawings on a single sheet: Façade du château du côté du jardin français [and] Coupe du château prise sur la ligne, A-B. Architectural rendering of the chateau's façade, in ink and colored washes; beneath, a detailed cutaway drawing in ink and colored washes, showing details of its construction.
7. Châtelet. Vue du jeu de Bague, de sa galerie et d'une des façades du château. Fine perspective view, in ink and watercolor over pencil, borders in pale pink ink. In the background the chinoiserie spectators' pavilions, in the foreground, the artist has added the figures of several Royal gardeners at work.
8. Mique. Plan du salon servant à donner des concerts et pour la collation. Plan in ink and pale watercolor wash, showing the large circular salon with various side-rooms and offices.
9. Mique. Two drawings on a single sheet: Façade du salon à donner des concerts [and] Coupe du même salon. Architectural rendering of the façade and cutaway rendering of the same, in ink and watercolor washes.
10. Mique. Plan du rez-de-chaussée et de la salle de spectacle. Plan in ink and gray wash, depicting the elaborate theater, with orchestra pit, circular changing rooms and other features.
11. Mique. Plan des premières loges. Plan in ink and gray wash.
12. Mique. Plan des secondes loges, "ou yeux de boeuf" [sic]. Plan in ink and blue and gray washes, showing the upper level of the theater and its domed ceiling, with its circular windows carefully delineated.
13. Mique. Coupe de la salle de spectacle sur la longueur. Architectural cross-section of the theater, finely rendered in ink and watercolors, showing details of construction plus the elaborate gilt ornamentation of the interior walls and domed ceiling.
14. Mique. Two drawings on a single sheet: Coupe de la salle de spectacle du côté du théâtre. [and] Coupe de la même salle du côté opposé au théâtre. Architectural cross-section of the theater and cross-section with finely detailed depiction of the gilded decorations of the stage and proscenium while a dramatic presentation with a host of costumed actors is in progress.
15. Mique. Plafond de la salle de spectacle. Finely detailed rendering, in ink and watercolor washed, depicting the gilded ornamentation around the base of the domed ceiling with circular windows, and the splendid painted ceiling by Lagrenée (1779), representing Apollo, various Graces and Muses, putti and angelic musicians cavorting in the clouds.
16. Mique. Two drawings on a single sheet: Coupe du Belvédère. [and] Plan du Belvédère. Architectural cross-section and plan, the latter with a detailed representation of the elaborate marble tiling of the floor of the Belvédère, with radiating rose at center.
17. Châtelet. Vue du Belvédère et du Rocher. Fine perspective view, in ink and watercolors over pencil, showing the Belvédère surrounded by thick foliage and, to the left, the rocky outcrops and entrance to the grotto, with a large group of figures in the foreground (including an artist with sketchbook in his lap), with pale pink borders.
18. Mique. Two drawings on a single sheet: Coupe du Temple. [and] Plan du Temple. Architectural drawing of a cross section of the temple and a plan depicting the elaborately tiled floor in pink and white marble.
19. Châtelet. Vue du Temple. Fine perspective view of the Temple de l'Amour, in an extensive landscape, in ink and watercolors over pencil, with pale pink borders.
20. Châtelet. Vue de l'intérieur de la Grotte. Finely rendered view of the rock-framed entrance to the grotto and the small stream flowing through it, with two figures seated at the entrance (one an artist, with sketchpad on his lap).

Several similar albums were commissioned by the Queen at different dates: 1) album dated 1779, presented to King Gustav III of Sweden (now Royal Library, Stockholm); 2) album dated 1782, presented to the grand duke and grand duchess of Russia (now Pavlovsk Library, frontispiece at the Metropolitan Museum, New York; 3) album dated 1786, presented to her sister-in-law and brother Archduke Ferdinand of Lorraine-Este (now Biblioteca Estense, Modena). The present is therefore the only Petit Trianon royal album still in private hands.

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