Monday Smiles – 11/10/2014

P1000961Our weekend started early with a Friday afternoon trip to the Huntington Library in Pasadena.  The website for the library says that, The Huntington was founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, an exceptional businessman who built a financial empire that included railroad companies, utilities, and real estate holdings in Southern California.   Huntington was also a man of vision – with a special interest in books, art, and gardens.  He began his career working for his uncle Collis, who was an owner of the Central Pacific Railroad.  Money builds money and he eventually built his own financial empire which included the Pacific Electric Railway and Newport News Shipbuilding.  The mansion that is now the centerpiece of the Huntington Library was completed in 1911.  The guide for the library casually mentions that in 1913, Henry married the widow of Uncle Collis.  She was his age and shared his interests in collecting, the guide says.  Unmentioned is the fact that His divorce from his first wife, Mary Alice Prentice, birth sister of his Uncle Collis daughter, in 1910 and marriage to Arabella in 1913 after Mary Alice’s death shocked San Francisco society.  I wonder if ever slipped and called his new wife Auntie in bed?

The Huntington Library is located on 120 acres that were part of the former San Marino Ranch and includes an extensive collection of rare books, several art galleries and botanical gardens including plants from all over the world.  The Library collection includes the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, and a world-class collection of the early editions of Shakespeare’s works.  The Huntington Art Gallery, originally the Huntington residence, contains one of the most comprehensive collections in this country of 18th- and 19th-century British and French art. It serves as home to Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Lawrence’s Pinkie. On display in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, The Huntington’s American art collection includes works from the 1690s to the 1950s, including important paintings such as Mary Cassatt’s Breakfast in Bed.

It was a bit warm on Friday afternoon … autumn in Socal can include 90 degree days, and this was one of them … so we didn’t wander as far as we normally would have in the gardens.  We did, however have a lovely time … and saw some beautiful things, which I’ll share with you via a slide show.

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Saturday we saw Birdman, a black comedy film that received fabulous reviews. Although I can’t imagine why, it had its moments.  And Sunday we met our friends, Don and Evie, in Temecula for dinner.   Except for an intestinal distress that came calling after dinner … and made it a long ride home … it was a lovely evening.  All in all, it’s enough to smile about.  And it’s Monday … I am.

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