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Zoom Rental | A Collector’s Country House: William Randolph Hearst with Victoria Kastner

April 17 @ 12:00 pm - May 2 @ 1:00 pm

A Collector’s Country House: William Randolph Hearst

When Winston Churchill visited William Randolph Hearst’s estate at San Simeon during Churchill’s 1929 California tour, he was pleasantly surprised. Though he had been expecting “a Monte Carlo casino perched atop the Rock of Gibraltar,” he found instead a stunning country house and an intriguing host. Hearst was an art collector in the 18th-century English tradition. Like William Beckford and Horace Walpole, Hearst personally selected every object in his vast collection, and determined its location. For 28 years, Julia Morgan—the first female architect to gain worldwide prominence—worked right beside him creating La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill), as it was formally known.

At San Simeon, Hearst blended English country house traditions with Californian informalities. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, and all the Hollywood set rubbed elbows with Calvin Coolidge and Bernard Shaw. Presiding as hostess was Hearst’s companion, the actress Marion Davies. The end result was a quintessentially American country house with English style gardens: built by a media mogul, designed by a woman architect, presided over by a Hollywood starlet, and forever immortalized by a film—Orson Welles’s brooding Citizen Kane. Victoria Kastner will discuss Hearst’s extensive art collection—Renaissance tapestries, Mediterranean furniture, English silver, and architectural fragments galore—and provide lively anecdotes about the hilltop, in this examination of America’s most glamorous country house and estate.

Victoria Kastner

Victoria Kastner is a leading scholar and author about the architect Julia Morgan as well as about Hearst Castle, where she worked for 30 years and was the historian. She is the author of Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House, with a foreword by George Plimpton, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2000; Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land, May 2009; and Hearst Ranch: Family, Land and Legacy. She co-authored The Beverly Hills Hotel: The First 100 Years with Robert Anderson.

In 2022, Victoria published Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect. Ms. Kastner has lectured extensively on Julia Morgan, Hearst’s art collection, and the history of collection for many museums and groups: including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the American Museum in Britain in Bath; and the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. She has also written about Hearst, San Simeon, and Morgan for The London Telegraph, the American Institute of Architects, Oxford University’s Journal of the History of Collections, and The Magazine Antiques.

Rent the recording and enjoy the lecture at your leisure!


April 17 @ 12:00 pm
May 2 @ 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Zoom Recording
New York, NY 10036 United States


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Zoom Rental | A Collector’s Country House: William Randolph Hearst with Victoria Kastner
$ 25.00