Arnott, James A. and John Wilson. The Petit Trianon, Versailles: Illustrated by a Series of Measured Drawings and Photographs of the Entire Building, Exterior and Interior; Including a Large Selection of the Furniture, and Various Details of Iron Work and Brass Work, Together with a Historical Account of the Palace, and Descriptive Letterpress. New York: C. Scribner, 1908.
Last summer, the Architecture and Planning Library celebrated its special collection by highlighting a number of books concerning French renaissance architecture. The project ultimately included volumes expanding beyond the scope of the renaissance and even of the expressly architectural, examining materials from the Merovingian period onward, certain items of which were concerned with ceremonial dress, religion, and the nature of architectural scholarship. This summer, we will continue featuring these works, employing a similarly broad perspective as evidenced in this, our first installment, which looks at Wilson and Arnott’s Petit Trianon, a style manual meant to instruct the architect in the intricacies of the burgeoning neoclassic.
Organized from exterior to interior, its 97 plates provide a general overview of the building and document in precise detail specific building elements such as stairwells, railings and panels as well as furniture designs. Though light on text, the early pages of the book provide a sympathetic analysis of life in the Petit Trianon during the reign of Louis XVI, humanizing the infamous Marie Antoinette in palpably anti-revolutionary prose. Subsequent pages provide a detailed overview of each plate or sets of plates organized by object represented. The Petit Trianon combines beautifully rendered plans and details with photographs, succinct descriptions and just the right amount of socially conservative commentary to provide an excellent reference for the architect, historian or culture connoisseur.
Library of Congress call numbers: NA 7736 V7 A8