1685 formed the turning-point of the personal rule of Louis XIV. It marked both the apogee of his reign and the beginning of its decline. The correspondence of Louvois, the Superintendant of Buildings, in this year perfectly reflect this ambiguity: never had so many letters been sent out from the offices of the Ministry (over 1,800), and the budget was at an all-time high.
1685 was the most expensive year in the history of the King's Buildings Ministry. Fifteen million pounds were assigned to it, amounting to 10% of the country's budget, a sum never before or after equalled in his reign. 1685 was also the year when the equestrian statue of the King by Bernini arrived. Louvois, who saw it before his master, noted that it was 'so ugly that it bore no resemblance to him, so when the King saw it he left it as it was.' [...]
Louvois became Superintendant after Colbert, but was given greater resources, which enabled him to undertake major projects in Paris (the Place des Conquêtes, the future Place Vendôme), in Versailles (construction of the Orangerie), in the provinces (notably major construction work at Chambord) and, above all, the start-up of the project bringing water from the river Eure to Versailles.
Edition: CTHS Edited by Raphael Masson and Thierry Sarma Published : September 2009
Dimensions: 17 x 24 cm
ISBN : 9782735506941