Designing Versailles: Landscapes and the perspectival peace : Dedicated to the memory of Frederick Arthur Farrell (29 November 1882 - 22 April 1935)

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This article analyses the 1919 peace treaty's signing at Versailles, and what the magnificent staging signalled about the peace terms, notably regarding power and emerging notions of self-determination. In 1919, international society appeared to be on the threshold of a new era. However, a dissonance emerged between the peacemakers' proclamations and the operationalisation of new principles of openness and emancipation. Certain royal houses and empires may have vanished but the remaining power-holders were not about to relinquish their dominance. While the familiar, blunt-edged tools of brazen colonialism were no longer available, some finer instruments and skilled professional expertise would finesse the details of an unequal hegemonic future. In all senses, this was a design project and in acknowledgement of Versailles's backdrop and the peacemakers' cartographic approach, landscape architecture's specialist principles offer a lens for comprehending and critiquing the legal-political practices of Versailles 1919.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121–163
Number of pages43
JournalLondon Review of International Law
Issue number1
Early online date23 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2020


  • Versailles Treaty
  • self-determination
  • Middle East
  • landscape architecture
  • design
  • gardens

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