Marie-Antoinette’s Legacy
Marie-Antoinette’s Legacy
The Politics of French Garden Patronage and Picturesque Design, 1775-1867
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List of Illustrations
Introduction : Spatial Legacies
Prologue : Consorts & Fashionistas
I: A Gambling Queen: Marie-Antoinette’s Gamescapes (1775-1789)
II: Revolutionary Surprises (1789-1804)
III: A Créole Empress: Joséphine at Malmaison (1799-1809)
IV : The Imperial Picturesque: Napoléon, Joséphine and Marie-Louise (1810-14)
V: Empress Eugénie and the Universal Exhibition of 1867

Reviews and Features

Winner of the prestigious J.B. Jackson Book Prize in the 2023 Landscape Studies Initiative awards from the Center for Cultural Landscapes.

"Taylor-Leduc traces the lasting effects of the queen’s garden legacy across three generations of French imperial consorts as Empresses Joséphine, Marie-Louise, and Eugénie asserted their own agency through garden spaces that echoed aspects of their predecessor’s innovations. Taylor-Leduc concludes that the gardens at the Petit Trianon and, later, Malmaison were not extravagant personal spaces for dissimulation or frivolity. Rather, these carefully curated landscapes carved out spaces for women consorts’ empowerment and celebrity while upholding societal and court expectations of femininity and etiquette."
-- Amanda Strasik, CAA Reviews

Susan Taylor-Leduc

Marie-Antoinette’s Legacy

The Politics of French Garden Patronage and Picturesque Design, 1775-1867

Challenging the established historiography that frames the French picturesque garden movement as an international style, this book contends that the French picturesque gardens from 1775 until 1867 functioned as liminal zones at the epicenter of court patronage systems. Four French consorts—queen Marie-Antoinette and empresses Joséphine Bonaparte, Marie-Louise and Eugénie—constructed their gardens betwixt and between court ritual and personal agency, where they transgressed sociopolitical boundaries in order to perform gender and identity politics. Each patron endorsed embodied strolling, promoting an awareness of the sentient body in artfully contrived sensoria at the Petit Trianon and Malmaison, transforming these places into spaces of shared affectivity. The gardens became living legacies, where female agency, excluded from the garden history canon, created a forum for spatial politics. Beyond the garden gates, the spatial experience of the picturesque influenced the development of cultural fields dedicated to performances of subjectivity, including landscape design, cultural geography and the origination of landscape aesthetics in France.

Susan Taylor-Leduc

Susan Taylor-Leduc earned both her masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, she has worked as a teacher, curator and university administrator in Paris. She is currently affiliated with the Centre de Recherche du Château de Versailles.