c. 1950 Margaret Thompson Biddle LES EMBRUNS S A I N T - J E A N - C A P - F E R R AT , F R A N C E
E M B RU N S WA S O N E O F S E V E R A L H O U S E S T H AT S T É P H A N E B O U D I N and Maison Jansen decorated for Margaret Thompson Biddle, an American mining heiress who wrote about the Paris social and political scene for French and American publications and who successfully carried the 19th-century fashion of salon entertaining into the post–World War II era. Noted for her intelligence, political connections, and experience as a diplomat’s wife, Biddle was a wellknown hostess and art collector, her life spent shuttling between an apartment in the former Joseph Pulitzer mansion in New York City, a house on rue Las Cases in Paris, and the Riviera villa.1 As described in the The New York Times, all these residences witnessed “notable gatherings of headline figures.”2 Biddle (1896–1956) was born in Helena, Montana, the only child of William Boyce Thompson, a philanthropist whose fortune was built on diamond mines in South Africa and copper and sulfur mines in the American West; he also served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Upon his death in 1930, Margaret, then the former wife of Theodore Schulze, and her mother, Gertrude, shared an inheritance of more than $16 million.3 A year later, in London, she married Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Jr., a banking heir who went on to serve as America’s minister to Norway and Poland, ambassador and minister to ES
OPPOSITE: CORNER OF A GUEST BEDROOM
Published on Oct 20, 2009
Jansen showcases 30 of the company's most alluring commissions, including rooms for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Shah and Shahbanou...