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Saturday, November 2, 2013

For the Love of Art ~ California Revisited

Following, are pictures that I took in 2011 from Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.  I just stumbled across these pictures in my computer last night, and thought I would share them.  The castle tour is simply amazing, and at times, jaw-dropping.  The one negative about the tour was the fact I was not prepared for the bus-loads and throngs of people.  I am not a fan of crowds, and being from Vermont, I was not used to the pace or population of California.  With patience, I was able to take photos without tourists interrupting the "creative flow".  A bit of history and information about Hearst Castle is below.

The sprawling estate 
A "Great" Dining Hall

The Gothic Library
A Guest Room
Doge Room

Billards, anyone? 

 The Movie Room

Outdoors near Neptune's Pool

Looking across Neptune's Pool

A vista from castle

Statues in "The Roman Pool" 

View from "The Roman Pool" 

One end of Neptune's Pool

Coat of Arms

HEARST CASTLE:   San Simeon, California

"Hearst Castle is a National and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947[3] for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts about one million visitors per year."

"Hearst formally named the estate "La Cuesta Encantada" ("The Enchanted Hill"), but usually called it "the ranch". Hearst Castle and grounds are also sometimes referred to as "San Simeon" without distinguishing between the Hearst property and the adjacent unincorporated area of the same name."


"Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and '30s. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate's airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill were among Hearst's A-list guests. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left to their own devices during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. Since "the Ranch" had so many facilities, guests were rarely at a loss for things to do. The estate's theater usually screened films from Hearst's own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions."

"Hearst Castle was the inspiration for the "Xanadu" mansion of the 1941 Orson Welles film Citizen Kane, which was itself a fictionalization of William Randolph Hearst's career.  Hearst Castle itself was not used as a location for the film, which used Oheka Castle in New York."


"One condition of the Hearst Corporation's donation of the estate was that the Hearst family would be allowed to use it when they wished. Patty Hearst, a granddaughter of William Randolph, related that as a child, she hid behind statues in the Neptune Pool while tours passed by. Although the main estate is now a museum, the Hearst family continues to use an older Victorian house on the property as a retreat — the original house built by George Hearst in the late 19th century. The house is screened from tourist routes by a dense grove of eucalyptus, to provide maximum privacy for the guests. In 2001, Patty Hearst hosted a Travel Channel show on the estate, and Amanda Hearst modeled for a fashion photo shoot at the estate for a Hearst Corporation magazine, Town and Country, in 2006."

"Hearst Castle joined the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1972 and became a United States National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976."

"Hearst Castle was included as one of America’s "10 Amazing Castles" by Forbes Travel.com. Forbes said, "Quite possibly the nation’s most famous castle, William Randolph Hearst went to great lengths to bring back the best of European architecture—most notably ceilings from churches and monasteries—which were pieced back together in California to create his highly eclectic Central Coast getaway."


The total square footage of the buildings on the estate exceeds 90,000 square feet (8,300 m²). 

The area of Casa Grande, the "castle", is 60,645 square feet (5,634 m²). 

The area of the guest houses on the property are:

Casa del Mar: 5,875 square feet (546 m²)

Casa del Monte: 2,291 square feet (213 m²)

Casa del Sol: 2,604 square feet (242 m²)"
 - Source:  Wikipedia


The Casa Grande Roman Pool

"The pool appears to be styled after an ancient Roman bath such as the Baths of Caracalla in Rome c. 211-17 AD. The mosaic tiled patterns were inspired by mosaics found in the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. They are also representative of traditional marine monster themes that can be found in ancient Roman baths."

"The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside. The intense colors and shimmering gold of the tiles combine to create a breathtaking effect. The designs created by the tiles were developed by muralist Camille Solon."

Mosaic Design Inspiration

The inspiration for some of these designs came from the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Hearst was affected by the beauty of the mosaics in the mausoleum and incorporated similar styles into his Roman Pool. The walls of the mausoleum are marble but the vaulted arches are composed of blue and gold smalti. The roofs and dome are covered with mosaics of night blue, powdered with stars. The Roman Pool is similar to the mausoleum with its blue and gold color scheme and stylized star patterns. It differs because marble was only used in the statues, not on the walls, and their are no religious murals. - Source:  mosaicartsource/wordpress



There are a total of 46 rooms in the Guest Houses including lobbies.


There are several additional rooms in Casa Grande including the Refectory, the Billiard Room, the Theater, Library, Gothic Study, Beauty Salon, Butler’s Pantry, Kitchen, Staff Dining Room for a total of 115 rooms in Casa Grande.


Holds 345,000 gallons of water
Depth from 3.5 feet to 10 feet deep; 6 feet in alcove


Holds 205,000 gallons of water
Depth is 10 feet deep; 4 feet in alcove

THE ART COLLECTION:  Visit Hearst Castle's office website to learn more - Source: http://www.hearstcastle.org

A few more pictures from California, which were not taken at Hearst Castle - in very random order:

This man serenaded my Mom from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town, San Diego

The Brander Vineyard,  Los Olivos, CA

Old Town, San Diego
Inside ? hotel, Riverside, California
L.A. Drive-By
St. Francis De Sales, California's Oldest Parish - Riverside, CA

Lay over:  Hotel View from Airport Hilton, San Francisco, CA

Me and Mom: We are exhausted!

Cacti, Redlands, CA

Morro Rock, Morrow Bay, CA

Lucy, The Wonder Dog:  Redlands, CA
Morro Rock, Morrow Bay, CA

Early Morning, Morro Bay

Sunset, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA
An outdoor theatre in Redlands, CA
Accordingly, did you notice the size of my audience?   
Old Town San Diego - - A "must" photo for me, as my Sweetheart's name is Russell:  a.k.a. "Rusty" 
Interior St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, Riverside, CA

Mexican Food - Delicious!

Mom and me at Hearst - Beautiful California vista in the background

Me:  A down-right exhausted tourist