The glory of Versailles

This beautiful book has just arrived and, as I don’t know when I’ll get around to reading it, I can’t resist sharing a few photos. When books like this exist, e-readers have a lot of catching up to do! It’s the newly-published Folio Society edition of The Sun King by Nancy Mitford. I rejoined the Folio Society last year because they tempted me with the boxset of E F Benson’s Mapp & Lucia novels for $9.99. This is the last of the books I had to buy and it’s quite spectacular.

It’s almost a folio size hardback. The cover, as you can see, is all blue, white and gold. Here’s the lovely title page with a painting of the Orangerie at Versailles.

The book is full of illustrations, including some lovely portraits I hadn’t seen before. This is Marie Louise, Queen of Spain, daughter of the Duc d’Orleans & Henrietta, sister of Charles II.

This is the Duc de Villars, Marechal of France. The reproduction of the plates is stunning, my poor photos don’t do them justice. Roy Strong has written the Introduction & says that Nancy Mitford’s portrait of Louis XIV is full of gossip & fascinating snippets of information from the diaries & memoirs of the time. I read & enjoyed her biography of Madame de Pompadour last year so I’m looking forward to this. I also have her biographies of Voltaire & Frederick the Great on preorder as they’re being reprinted by Vintage Classics in a few months. The Sun King & Madame de Pompadour are also being reprinted so if you’re tempted, you don’t have to buy this edition, although it’s well worth it for the illustrations alone.

3 thoughts on “The glory of Versailles

  1. Long, long ago, when I had been married only two years and we had little spare cash to spend on books, my dear late father asked what I'd like for Chistmas? The year was 1966 (I was 22, just to stop you guessing) and Nancy Mitford's The Sun King had just been published and so I asked if he would kindly buy that for me. It was, therefore, the first book of my collection. I should, however, just love that gorgeous new Folio edition. Some people are a bit sniffy about the 'pretty' Folio editions (not quite as sniffy about them as they are of Reader's Digest condensed books, I might add!) and they don't actually hold their value particularly well, but I think that one is particularly attractive and I would be proud to add it to my collection to sit alongside the original first edition.
    Margaret P


  2. It is a beautiful book Margaret. I've bought several Folio editions to sit beside battered old paperbacks that I'm fond of just because they're beautifully produced. Their value doesn't really matter to me because I don't woryy about that too much. I don't think any of my books will be worth much in monetary terms but I like owning them & looking at the beautiful pictures. How lovely that you have a copy of Sun King with such personal memories.


  3. You are right – we buy books because we love them and not because they might hold their value or even increase in value. But a lot of people do think that because Folios are so well produced that they will hold their value, but this isn't always the case.
    I also have Madame de Pompadour on the shelf, next to Sun King, but that is as yet, unread.
    Margaret P


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