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HistoryVersailles through the centuries

Richard Mique



Intendant of the Buildings of queens Marie Lesczinczska and Marie-Antoinette. Intendant General of the Buildings of Louis XVI (1728-1794)

Celebrated architect of Marie-Antoinette at Trianon, builder of the queen’s Hamlet and her English-style park, he also built fine neo-classical buildings in Versailles and Saint-Denis.

Born in Nancy, Mique began his career at Versailles as former chief architect to king Stanislas Leszczynski, duc de Lorraine and father of Marie Leszczynska. The queen took him into her service on the death of Stanislas in 1766. She commissioned to build a convent for girls in Versailles (the present Lycée Hoche). The architect built in its centre a splendid neo-classical chapel, an expression of his taste for the architecture of Palladio.

Marie-Antoinette then took him into her service in memory of their shared origins in Lorraine. He agreed to satisfy all her caprices. At Versailles, Mique began in 1775 the refurbishment of her inner apartment (cabinet de la Méridienne, library, inner study, billiards room, etc.) which went through several drafts as the queen’s tastes evolved. In 1782, he installed on the ground floor facing the marble courtyard a new and more discreet apartment to replace that of Mme Sophie, daughter of Louis XV. In the grand apartment, he designed the salon of the Nobles in the neo-classical style, not hesitating to mask the Louis XIV decor by a white ceiling with a cornice. He annexed to the apartment the salon of Peace which became the queen’s gaming room.

At Trianon, the domain of Marie-Antoinette par excellence, all her fantasies were given free rein: construction of a small theatre for the queen and her friends; a belvedere to rest in; a hamlet like that of the Prince de Condé at Chantilly but even larger, for her pastoral activities. Here Mique laid out an English-style garden on the advice of the painter Hubert Robert and the botanist Claude Richard. An artificial cave, a temple of Eros, an artificial lake and river enlivened this picturesque setting designed to express Rousseau’s taste for nature.

Mique built on the hill of Saint-Cloud, when this estate was given by Louis XVI to the queen, a hospital for her charitable work. Rebuilt since then, only the chapel remains. The chapel of the Carmel of Saint-Denis for Mme Louise, the religious daughter of Louis XV, is another famous achievement of the architect. A zealous servitor of Marie-Antoinette, Mique was guillotined in Paris in 1794.

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