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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Book inspiration

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Many of you have asked about the photographer who shot the January 2009 story Creativity at Work that documented some of the Martha Stewart Living editors’ office, including mine. It just so happens that I just received the three-volume set of his books, Parcours Muséologique Revisité, and it is an absolute inspiration for my apartment.

For the past 25 years, Canadian photographer Robert Polidori has been visiting the Palace of Versailles to document various periods of restoration. The result is approximately 500 gorgeous photographs of everything from wallpaper to artwork and flooring to furniture. While my apartment is a far cry from the chateau’s Louis XIV design, I can appreciate the idea of “memory theatre” and documenting the vision. Paying attention to restoration detail, smudges and peeling papers as well as rooms to hide mops, and then lingering on the beauty is quite powerful. I may not have 25 years, but during my 1 year adventure, I will, in the words of my friend Robert, document:

“Different times in history different voices echo what periods seem more worth saving from our past than others. Each time we yield to this temptation we alter somewhat our view of who we were and who think we should be.”

Some of Robert’s other work includes:

After the Flood (2006) Images post Katrina
Fotografie: Portfolio (2006) A profile of his work
Metropolis (2005) His monograph
Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl (2003) Images after the disasters
Havana (2001) Images of Cuba
Palm Springs Weekend: The Architecture and Design of a Midcentury Oasis (2001)

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This is the first floor, photographed in 1985, with a stunning George Jacquot sculpture from 1827 on the landing.

1 This is the first floor, photographed in 1985, with a stunning George Jacquot sculpture from 1827 on the landing.

Room of the state generals, 1985, in the midst of restoration. Simply breathtaking.

2 Room of the state generals, 1985, in the midst of restoration. Simply breathtaking.

I love this image of the Salle Louis Grand, from 2007. The composition is perfect.

3 I love this image of the Salle Louis Grand, from 2007. The composition is perfect.

A room full of reserve busts just waiting.

4 A room full of reserve busts just waiting.

Nearby, a room for reserve sculptures. The light is so lovely.

5 Nearby, a room for reserve sculptures. The light is so lovely.

The queen's bed.

6 The queen's bed.

Even moments of function are tucked away behind the most exquisite doors.

7 Even moments of function are tucked away behind the most exquisite doors.

A maintenance room near the Louis-Philippe staircase.

8 A maintenance room near the Louis-Philippe staircase.

Galerie des Glaces, 1983. Chandelier inspiration.

9 Galerie des Glaces, 1983. Chandelier inspiration.

Look at how beautifully integrated the security camera sits among the boiserie detail.

10 Look at how beautifully integrated the security camera sits among the boiserie detail.

Volet details, grand cabinet de Madame Victoire. Simple and gorgeous,

11 Volet details, grand cabinet de Madame Victoire. Simple and gorgeous,

Grand cabinet of Dauphin, with George Jacob furnishings from 1787.

12 Grand cabinet of Dauphin, with George Jacob furnishings from 1787.

An incredible detail from a painting by Etienne Allegrain, circa 1700.

13 An incredible detail from a painting by Etienne Allegrain, circa 1700.

Finally, a favorite detail from a painting of a minister, Francois-Nicolas Mollien by Robert Lefevre, 1806.

14 Finally, a favorite detail from a painting of a minister, Francois-Nicolas Mollien by Robert Lefevre, 1806.

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Comments (6)

  • Grey and gold!

  • Parcours Muséologique Revisité is a very interesting book read an article about it and looking forward to ordering it. I love the Palace of Versailles and love to visit it when in France. Thank you for this interesting post.

  • A work of true passion ... my next visit will be seen from a different perspective. Thanks for the peek 'behind closed doors'!

  • Some how, some way, i MUST have this. I am salivating...
    Catherine

  • and there you have it, ordered! 78 at amazon. Next will be Havana! now only if I could have one of the REAL photos. How beautiful some from Havana would be in your aptment. I have been know to frame photos from books...
    Catherine

  • Stunning photographs-thank you for the post.

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