Count (later Marquis) Boni de Castellane was born 150 years ago today. Our sesquicentenarian valentine was a fixture of Belle Époque society, noted for his free spending, his meticulous toilette, his ambitious building plans. The Parisian Palais Rose which he shared with his American heiress wife Anna Gould – before the maddening expense of it tore them apart – was testament to the count’s Bourbon tastes, inside and out. Pastiche it may have been, but it deserved a better fate than its 1969 demolition (see this Palais Rose on the outskirts of Paris for comparison).
Thankfully they remembered to empty the place before the wrecking balls turned up. At the end of the month, selected items that once filled the Castellane-Gould residence will go on view in Paris ahead of an auction on 7 March. If, like Boni, you like your régimes on the ancien side, and money is no object, have a troll round – you’re sure to find something you’ll like. Perhaps you have a wall that’s looking positively naked without an original Fragonard, or maybe you’d like to get your hands on a nice pair of jugs (Sèvres, obvs). Or you may well be thinking, “it’s only nine months until James’s birthday, yes I will get him those enamel cufflinks framed in 18 carat gold depicting what appear to be Victorian ghost children”. The reserve is only in the low four figures, but I will appreciate the gesture nonetheless.