Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories
Rakewell is pleased to note that Kinmel Hall, a Grade I listed country house known as ‘the Versailles of Wales’, has received legal protection to prevent unauthorised work being carried out at the property. The building has been neglected by its owners and allowed to fall into disrepair; in 2015 it was included on the Victorian Society’s list of the Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales.
Every country has its own Versailles, right? In defence of Kinmel Hall, your correspondent has compiled an anthology of his favourite Versailles (Versailleses?) of elsewhere – from glorious 18th-century palaces to grandiose modern imitations and – well – one or two imposters.
The Versailles of Naples – the Royal Palace of Caserta. Architect Luigi Vanvitelli did model some elements, such as the chapel, after Jules-Hardouin Mansart’s designs for Versailles.
The Versailles of the North – Drottningholm Palace, outside Stockholm. An 18th-century royal residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles.
The Versailles of Vienna – Schönbrunn Palace. Ditto.
The Versailles of Spain – the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. Developed by Philip V, who was born at Versailles.
The Versailles of Vaughan – a very big mansion in Ontario. Complete with heated ‘Ferrari room’.
The Bavarian Versailles – Herrenchiemsee, southern Bavaria. Ludwig II’s answer to the Sun King’s palace – designed and constructed after the king of Bavaria had visited Versailles in 1874.
The African Versailles – Gbadolite. President Mobutu’s vast palace complex, now in ruins.
The Versailles of Germany – Potsdam.
The Versailles of Holland – Het Loo. Though this one is contested by garden historians.
The Versailles of Belarus – Ruzhany Palace. Once the home of the Sapieha family – and now a ruin.
The Versailles of Hampstead – formerly home to hospitality honcho Richard Caring.
The Versailles of Poland – Branicki Palace. Built for a man who dreamt of becoming the king of Poland.
The Versailles of Beijing – Yuanming Yuan. The summer palace of the Qianlong Emperor.
Versailles House – the mansion in Florida that will, when finished this year, be the largest home in the US. David and Jackie Siegel started building it in 2004; she has long been known as the ‘Queen of Versailles’.