Thursday, February 3, 2011

San Simeon: Master bedrooms

While the rest of the Casa Grande at San Simeon is positively kingly, the private bedrooms of Hearst and his companion, Marion Davies, are cozy and intimate.The bedrooms are located in what is known as the Gothic suite on the 3rd floor of the building. The ceiling of Hearst's bedroom is one of the many treasures in the castle and dates to the 14th century. It was removed from the 'House of the Jews' at Teruel in Aragon, Spain.Recently the painting was restored and the colors are vivid and bright, making the scenes they depict clear. The artwork in the bedroom is fittingly personal to Hearst and includes a lot of family photographs as well as religious iconography, much of it dating to the Renaissance. One of the most valuable pieces of artwork in the estate is the small “Madonna and Child” by Duccio di Buoninsegna seen below, which was a gift to Hearst from one of his publishers.Hearst's bath, while marble filled and ornate, is shockingly small. I love the 2 toned marble paneling. Notice the numerous gold taps at the sink, I was told some operate fresh water while others salt water.The suite runs the length of the Casa Grande and is comprised of 2 master bedroom suites joined by a sitting room atop the Assembly room and library as well as Hearst's private library and office above the refectory. Below, you can see from Hearst's bedroom through the sitting room and into his Mistresses (Marion Davies) bedroom.Despite their long relationship of 30 odd years, Hearst never divorced his first wife but was devoted to Marion until his Death, in fact leaving the bulk of his estate to her (which she refused). Marion claimed upon her death bed that her niece, Patricia, was actually their love child, born in secrecy in Paris in 1923 (read more about Marion's fascinating story HERE).Marion was an accomplished actress and entrepreneur in her own right. Despite their significant age difference, she claimed they were the perfect pair. Her life pretty much fell to shambles after his death but you can read more about that at the Claroscureaux link above. The sitting room, below, was where they would spend the most time together, often with Marion sewing her own clothing and mending Hearst's. Domestic bliss in a small apartment high above the grand estate; I think there's something to that! I loved the arched paneled ceiling which lends a further aire of intimacy, like an ancient galleon.
The ceiling in Marion's bedroom was an intricate design of stars done in gold and blue. The lanterns were uplights, which explains the washed out patch, no camera flash was used!
The walls appear to me to be a venetian plaster, does anyone know? I love the clock light on Marion's desk below.Marion probably had very little to do with the decoration of her bedroom, as the only feminine touch appears to be the pink jade lamps. Hearst's love of the heavy Renaissance Spanish style shines through.Read more about the art of the estate at Eklektx.
As with all of my San Simeon posts, written permission was kindly granted to post my interior photos of the estate on this blog only. Please respect that and do not copy. Thanks!

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Your posts on San Simeon are wonderful. It's a gorgeous place. I hope to visit it one of these days.

Hels said...

Hearst's love of the heavy Renaissance Spanish style really does shine through. So I wonder if Marion truly liked the relatively dark, overly decorated atmosphere. At least the ceiling in Marion's bedroom, with the gold and blue stars, seemed lighter and more delicate.

Divine Theatre said...

I would like to thank you for all the effort you put into your posts! I learn something new every time!
My printer doesn't work so I cannot make Petit Trianon yet!

Robert Webber said...

I am sure that in your field as in garden design a complete change of pace has something to be said for it and you have that here. It is not my taste, but it exudes as you say intimacy and a conception of cosiness. I enjoyed the idea of them sitting there like a pair of old pensioners, while the mending was done!
Thanks for this as always.
Best
R

quintessence said...

I like the more intimate cozy nature of this suite. Of course yet again a spectacular ceiling and I adore the handsome bathroom despite its size.

Topaz said...

Fascinating stuff. I've actually been to Hearst Castle but it's been a while and I'm seeing it anew through your expert eyes. And I never knew Hearst and Davies had a daughter.

And your blog list is the best around. I always discover something new and noteworthy perusing it.