Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


Dairy Queens : The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de' Medici to Marie-Antoinette, Hardback Book

Dairy Queens : The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de' Medici to Marie-Antoinette Hardback

Part of the Harvard Historical Studies series


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 regime.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336 pages, 82 color illustrations, 8 halftones
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of architecture
  • ISBN: 9780674048997



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also in the Harvard Historical Studies series   |  View all