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Photographer's Note

The Hameau de la Reine (The Queen's Hamlet) is the rustic retreat that was built for Marie Antoinette. It is situated in a secluded section of the Trianon gardens within the park of Versailles.

The Hameau, built on the far side of a landscaped pond, was small, rustic and, in essence, an ersatz farm (or ferme ornée) meant to evoke a peasant village in Normandy. Started in 1783 and finished in 1787, to designs of the Queen's favoured architect, Richard Mique, the hamlet was complete with farmhouse, dairy, and mill. Here the Queen and her attendants would dress as shepherdesses and milkmaids. Particularly docile cows would be milked by the ladies with porcelain milk churns painted to imitate wood. The simple and rustic ambiance at the hameau has been evoked in paintings by Fragonard however, inside the farmhouse, the rooms were far from simple, featuring the luxury and comfort to which Marie Antoinette and her ladies were accustomed. Yet, the rooms at the hameau allowed for more intimacy than the grand salons at Versailles or at the Petit Trianon itself. Such model farms were fashionable among the French aristocracy at the time, and one primary purpose of the hameau was to give the illusion that it was deep in the countryside rather than within the confines of Versailles.

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Additional Photos by Dave Fisher (dabeed) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 67 W: 102 N: 104] (568)
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