Beautiful Mansions From the Past

Above is an aerial view of Bellasguardo, the Clark estate in Santa Barbara.

I am reading a book called Empty Mansions which describes the unusual life of copper heiress Huguette Clark and the fantastical homes she owned but didn’t live in.  I remember hearing a bit about Huguette and her estate when she died about 5 years ago at the age of 104.  She had lived for the last 20 years of her life in a hospital, tho not for health reasons.  The homes she owned and had maintained were palatial in size and included paintings by Degas, Rembrandt and others.  They held numerous valuable musical instruments including pianos by Steinway and strings by Stradivarius.  One home, in Santa Barbara, named Bellosguardo will be maintained by a foundation formed to foster and promote the arts.  The “family home” at 962 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was torn down shortly after the death of Huguette’s father with a co-op being built on the site.  The book is written by Pulitzer Prize author Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., a relative of Mrs. Clark.  I am finding it really interesting and I thought I’d share a couple of photos from these homes.  I also want to mention that some of the articles I have linked to have information that conflicts with the book I am reading.

<b>BELLOSGUARDO THEN:</b> This family photo, taken in the 1940s, shows the interior of the library, including a portrait of Huguette’s sister Andrée over the fireplace. The furniture has been covered, but otherwise the rooms in the mansion remain as they were 60 years ago.

Above is a photo of the Library at Bellosguardo taken in 1940.

Above is the Fifth Avenue home which was demolished in the 20’s.

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