The Garden at Versailles with the Fishing Temple (Petit Hameau de la Reine, Versailles)
Watercolor and gouache on paper
7 13/16 x 11 1/4 inches (198 x 286 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund 1978
In 1837 the English artist William Callow, drawing master to the children of King Louis Philippe, received permission to depict private areas of the royal gardens at Versailles. This scene portrays Marie-Antoinette's artificial hamlet of thatched cottages, mill, fishing tower, and two dairies (one functional and one for refreshments) beside a carefully contoured lake. Designed by Richard Mique and Hubert Robert in consultation with the queen during the 1780s, this rustic fabrication became notorious as the place where she played milkmaid at a time of desperate poverty for the peasantry of France. Four decades after the Revolution, Callow represented the domain of a more moderate monarch in a resolutely idyllic view of luminous tranquility.