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From Carl Vogt and Friedrich Specht's The Natural History of Animals. Trans. George G. Chisholm. (NY: D. Appleton & Co., 1888.) Volume 1, p. 81. Scanned by the author. Further information about and versions of this image may be found on the lemur.com™ Lemur Resources Page
This is an approximate or schematic plan of the labyrinth formerly in the gardens at Versailles. It was built in 1674 to a design by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and populated, if that term might be used, by fountains depicting the fables of Æsop. It was destroyed in 1774.
A plan and description of this labyrinth survive in Le Labyrinthe de Versailles (1677) by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Sebastian LeClerc. Reprinted Paris: Le Moniteur, 1982. The plan from this book is reproduced in David Willis McCullough's The Unending Mystery: A Journey through Labyrinths and Mazes (NY: Pantheon Books, 2004). It shows the labyrinth as rectangular, and is generally the basis for my drawing.
A different plan of the labyrinth occurs in an anonymous plan of Versailles drawn in France in 1687 and now catalog number "THC 1" (Tessin-Hårleman Collection, No. 1) in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. This has been published in an exhibition catalog edited by Elaine Evans Dee and Guy Walton, Versailles: The View from Sweden (NY: Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1988, pp. 20-21). This plan shows the labyrinth as slightly more trapezoidal, and lacking the little "s curl" in the upper right, but is otherwise topologically similar.
A still different engraving of the plan, along with several of the illustrations of the fountains, is reproduced online in Michael Conan's paper "Landscape Metaphors and Metamorphosis of Time," in Michel Conan, ed. [extracts from] Landscape Design and the Experience of Motion, Volume 24 of the Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2003). http://www.doaks.org/etexts.html; http://www.doaks.org/COMO.html This version also claims to be from Perrault's Le Labyrinthe, but is not the same as the version reprinted in McCullough. It shows the labyrinth as trapezoidal (but with the "s curl") and more closely resembles the Stockholm plan.
"Instead of leading visitors toward a discovery of the virtues of the garden's patron, the Labyrinth encouraged self-reflection and a search for a personal code of conduct. ... A statue representing Aesop at the entrance advised that unless they pondered their choices they might fail to find their way through the Labyrinth." (295)
I created this present digital image by hand, and dedicate it to the public domain as noted in the legal information section at the bottom of this page. (It's just easier to make it public domain, so that it fits well with the other public domain images that I tend to use as linking and decorative images.) It should be considered nothing more than a decorative image; it is not necessarily an accurate representation of this labyrinth.
The plan after the labyrinth at Versailles, drawn by David M. MacMillan in 2006, is dedicated by him to the Public Domain.
All other images appearing on this page are in the public domain.
All portions of this document not noted otherwise are Copyright © 2006-2010 by David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
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