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on 16 April 2015
This book is so beautifull that it wasn't until I was a third of the way through it before I realized I'd stopped breathing. To call this a 'coffee table' book is like saying the Sistine chapel has an eye-catching ceiling. If anything can demonstrate the superiority of books over Kindles, it's this utterly magnificent book. The images are so lavish that to spend an hour looking at them slips by like ten minutes, the charm and grandeur pulling you away with absorbed fascination in what amounts to a form of two-dimensional teleportation, in short, it's as good as you can get to going to Versailles without actually going. I can't possibly begin to do justice to the palace itself, or the amazing stories contained within (like Marie Antoinettes collection of Japanese lacquer survivng the Revolution), suffice to say that this book shows culture at it's apogee, a peerless endeavour of expertise, aesthetic, boundless extravagance and controversy to overshadow any other location on earth, Chantilly, Blenheim, Schoneberg, The Hermitage, The Forbidden City; all fabulous but not quite Versailles. It's like God hired an interior designer and set him loose without a budget. So, like the gilded boiseries of one of her endless enfilades, this ravishing book does indeed deliver a personal and exquisite vista into a world of ultimate human craftsmanship that led at the time for the Galerie de Glace to be described in all seriousness as 'the centre of the universe'. Go without food to buy it.
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on 23 July 2013
This is a beautifully photographed book that gives the reader the sense of being present in, and up close to, the various rooms in the Chateau as well as the gardens. The text is apt, easy to grasp and rather impressionistic than factual. It also helps to create an even stronger sense of presence. This is a book, therefore, for those who know Versailles well and are familiar with its basic history and facts. Although clearly a coffee-table book, the text lifts it beyond its peers. I should also note that it would take a sturdy coffee table to support it. When reading it, I was grateful to have once been a competitive weightlifter.
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on 14 February 2016
The photos are superb, although the promise of covering normally unseen areas of the palace is somewhat misleading. Unfortunately let down by a lack of context and no maps or diagrams at all. I had to get another book with plans in it to even get an idea of the geographical context of the palace and how the rooms relate to each other.
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on 13 August 2014
All is well.
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on 24 December 2012
This book is stunning and I defy anyone not to be pleased by the photography which isn't particularly well exhibited by the bad photos I uploaded on here. The name of the book "A Private Invitation" is very apt, I've been to the chateau more times than I can count and have always been delighted by the place but what I did miss were the details which are beautifully illustrated in the book. You see in crystal clarity things you aren't able to see on a visit like details of fabrics used or inlay on furniture, details that as a private guest you would see. As for the price, at first it seems rather excessive but the quality of the printing, photos and shear weight of the thing justify it as the perfect coffee table book.
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