Grand Tour history of architecture, some names shine more brightly than others; but architecture is a democratic art honoring individual talent over ancestral titles and inherited reputations. Thus, in this volume the obstinate son of a Swiss watchcase-engraver stands alongside an all-powerful Hapsburg monarch. Here, too, are both the strong-willed offspring of a midwestern preacher and that “Most Christian King” of France who, having lost all but his honor, attempted to regain some of his prestige by building what he intended to be the most magnificent of palaces. He was neither the first nor the last to apply such an enlightened remedy to his problems.
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