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Title: Political landscapes : garden design and aristocratic opposition in France, 1770-1781
Author: Wick, Gabriel
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 1021
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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The dissertation examines the role that landscape gardening and the ‘irregular’ English-inflected style played in the attempts by senior figures in the French monarchy to re-cast their identities in modern terms and re-negotiate their roles in political life. Analysing surviving vestiges, contemporary descriptions and iconography, it reconstitutes the form, evolution and reception of the gardens of the princes of Conti and Condé, the ducs of Orléans, Chartres, and Choiseul, and Marie- Antoinette as well as those built by the Royal Buildings Administration on behalf of Louis XVI. It questions to what degree in the initial phases of its development the ‘new mode’ was shaped by the new contestatory spirit of the ‘Republic of Letter’s and contemporaneous developments on the public sphere such as the arrival of Englishstyle commercial pleasure grounds, the increasing popularity and importance of manuscript newsletters, and shifts in the way in which the middling public viewed and interacted with hereditary élites. The thesis proposes that at a time when the high aristocracy and the crown were at odds over the constitutional structure of the kingdom, new practices in landscape gardening allowed dissident aristocrats to leverage their visibility for political ends. With the advent of Louis XVI and the campaign of reforms launched by his ministers, the dissertation tracks how the meanings of the new mode changed, particularly with its adoption by the queen and the crown in the second half of the 1770s. In the context of the crown’s attempts to adapt and modernise absolutism, the dissertation questions to what extent the adoption of English-inflected landscapes aesthetics eased the acceptance of English-style political practices and mentalities? Thus how did landscape gardening play an integral role in the articulation, negotiation and assimilation of change in the last decades of the absolutist regime?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Landscape gardening ; Political context ; Aristocratic identities