Susan Taylor-Leduc will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Wednesday, February 7, at 12:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “Designing Legacy: Marie-Antoinette and Josephine as Garden Patrons.”

During the tumultuous forty years from 1774 until 1814, when the French government was transformed from monarchy to empire, Queen Marie-Antoinette and Empress Josephine Bonaparte created picturesque gardens at the Petit Trianon, Versailles, and Malmaison respectively. The captivating life stories of both women have elicited critiques of their garden patronage, suggesting that they pursued insatiable desires unfettered by financial constraints, detached from political and social realities. This talk suggests an alternative reading: Taylor-Leduc contends that both women constituted living legacies of female empowerment that were essential to the creation and dissemination of the picturesque garden and as such contributed to the evolution of modern landscape architecture in France.


Susan Taylor-Leduc earned both her masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, she has worked as a teacher, curator, university administrator, and tour guide in Paris. A specialist in eighteenth-century French gardens, she is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Designing Legacy: Marie-Antoinette, Josephine and the French Picturesque Garden 1774–1814.


This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.