Versailles

The glory and the misery of Louis XIV’s France

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Louis XIV raised the prestige of France above that of any other European nation – even if he did leave the country starving and bankrupt, says David Crane

BBC1’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems deliberately designed to flush out purists

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Spoiler alerts aren’t normally required for reviews of Shakespeare — but perhaps I’d better issue one before saying that in…

Out of time and harsh: the historical treatment of the female composer

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Just a few weeks ago, Germany’s VAN magazine published an interview with the composer Olga Neuwirth. In it she describes…

‘La Mort de Louis XIII’, 1731, by Jean-François de Troy

The strange death of Louis XIV

21 November 2015 9:00 am

At the beginning of the summer of 1715 Louis XIV complained of a pain in the leg. In mid-August gangrene…

Gardeners’ world: Alan Rickman (Louis XIV) and Kate Winslet (Sabine De Barra) at Versailles

A Little Chaos review: Kate Winslet emotes her little socks off

18 April 2015 9:00 am

A Little Chaos is a period drama directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet as a woman charged to…

Jacques-Louis David, emboldened by Madame Vigée Le Brun, included a smiling display of teeth in his portrait of Madame de Sériziat (1795)

How the smile came to Paris (briefly)

13 December 2014 9:00 am

In 1787 critics of the Paris Salon were scandalised by a painting exhibited by Mme Vigée Le Brun. The subject…

‘Jeanne arranged for a Marie Antoniette lookalike to linger coyly in the undergrowth in the park at Versailles’

The queen, the cardinal and the greatest con France ever saw

14 June 2014 8:00 am

You usually know where you are with a book that promises the story ‘would violate the laws of plausibility’ if…

Thanks to Audio Description, the blind have the best seat in the house

3 May 2014 9:00 am

I did not mean to snort so loudly. There I was watching the amazing Simon Russell Beale in King Lear…