HARVARD HISTORICAL STUDIES
Cover: Dairy Queens: The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de' Medici to Marie-Antoinette, from Harvard University PressCover: Dairy Queens in HARDCOVER

Harvard Historical Studies 176

Dairy Queens

The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de' Medici to Marie-Antoinette

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Product Details

HARDCOVER

$57.50 • £46.95 • €52.00

ISBN 9780674048997

Publication Date: 02/15/2011

Short

336 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

82 color illustrations, 8 halftones

Harvard Historical Studies

World

In a lively narrative that spans more than two centuries, Meredith Martin tells the story of a royal and aristocratic building type that has been largely forgotten today: the pleasure dairy of early modern France. These garden structures—most famously the faux-rustic, white marble dairy built for Marie-Antoinette’s Hameau at Versailles—have long been dismissed as the trifling follies of a reckless elite. Martin challenges such assumptions and reveals the pivotal role that pleasure dairies played in cultural and political life, especially with respect to polarizing debates about nobility, femininity, and domesticity. Together with other forms of pastoral architecture such as model farms and hermitages, pleasure dairies were crucial arenas for elite women to exercise and experiment with identity and power.

Opening with Catherine de’ Medici’s lavish dairy at Fontainebleau (c. 1560), Martin’s book explores how French queens and noblewomen used pleasure dairies to naturalize their status, display their cultivated tastes, and proclaim their virtue as nurturing mothers and capable estate managers. Pleasure dairies also provided women with a site to promote good health, by spending time in salubrious gardens and consuming fresh milk. Illustrated with a dazzling array of images and photographs, Dairy Queens sheds new light on architecture, self, and society in the ancien régime.

Awards & Accolades

  • Finalist, 2011 First Book Prize, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
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