Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Around Town - Hearst The Collector With Victoria Kastner

Last night I had the privilege of attending a lecture sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation given by architectural historian Victoria Kastner, the preeminent scholar of Hearst Castle.  The lecture was held at the Beverly Hills Women's Club, an organization with many members who have an interest in decorative arts and the architectural preservation of important local buildings and landmarks.
Kastner, who has been the official historian of Hearst Castle for 30 years, has written these two amazing books.


The lecture focused on Hearst as a collector, the construction of San Simeon, and use of the property as a country house.  Hearst typically entertained the Hollywood set at the Castle, but he also hosted George Bernard Shaw, PG Wodehouse and Winston Churchill. 

I won't go into to details of the hour long lecture but I will post this short interview with Kastner who explains some of the wonder that is Hearst Castle.



Of course no lecture on this topic could be complete without a description of Julia Morgan, the greatest female architect...ever.  Julia Morgan, who graduated with a degree in civil engineering from UC Berkeley in 1894, was the first female student to graduate from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  After studying in Paris she returned to California and built the first bell tower or campanile on a college campus in the US, which housed bells that had been cast for the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. The campanile, which was the first reinforced concrete structure on the west coast, withstood the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and she became sought after to rebuild important structures that had been damaged, including San Francisico's Fairmont Hotel. Then in 1919, after some 500 commissions, she became the architect of Hearst Castle and Wyntoon, Hearst's other fantasy property.
In her long career she was the architect of some 700 buildings.  
Imagine that for a woman who died in 1957.

OK, I can go on and on about Julia Morgan but she deserves her own post.
So instead I'll write about something really important...like what I wore.
As I've mentioned before, navy is my neutral 
so voila, a  navy blue suit and sapphire and diamond estate jewelry from Beladora.com


Naturally, I had to wear that sapphire cuff bracelet because it was all things wonderful
But instead of the mother of pearl and diamond earrings I kept with a cabochon sapphire story with these earrings
and this gorgeous ring

How is it possible that as a lifelong Californian, I've never been to Hearst Castle?
Obviously after last night it is high on my agenda for a future road trip after I get my new car.
Now....If I can only finagle a private tour of the house and grounds by Victoria Kastner...

So lovely...California at its best
No wonder Hearst loved it so.
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6 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello:
What an extraordinary place Hearst Castle appears to be. We should have been most interested to hear the lecture particularly as it was given by the custodian whose knowledge of her subject must be second to none [apparent in the short video clip].

We did not know of Julia Morgan previously and will certainly look up some of her other work. She was clearly a leading architect in her day.

Bourbon&Pearls said...

Oh you look beautiful and that cuff is incredible.
Wow, imagine being a female architect back then, and creating something that continues to inspire future generations.

Belle de Ville said...

Hattats, I encourage you to learn more about Julia Morgan. She truly was an amazingly accomplished architect.

Tabitha, yes just imagine what Morgan did in the pre-feminism period of the early 20th Century.

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

I've been to Hears Castle a couple of times. It is truly breathtaking. You will love it as much as I love that bracelet!

Anonymous said...

I visited Hearst Castle with my family when I was about 4 years old. I don't remember much from when I was a child, but I remember Hearst Castle like it was yesterday. It is amazing. You MUST go asap.

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

I must go to Hearst Castle, it looks amazing as does that beautiful cuff xx

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