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Sovereign Virtues

Palaces of the Sun King

Palaces of the Sun King (Rizzoli; $100) is the culmination of six years of work by draftsman Bernd Dams, 40, and watercolorist Andrew Zega, 42. For the book's 90 illustrations (and meticulous narrative history), the erudite collaborators researched in detail every château, pavilion, fountain, and garden ornament commissioned by the megalomaniacal Louis XIV, particularly those that were never built or have long since been destroyed, like the Porcelain Trianon at Versailles, which was built in 1671 and torn down just 16 years later.