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governments in exile during World War II, and ambassador to Spain.4 The couple divorced in 1945, but Margaret Biddle, who had long maintained a foothold in Paris, remained in Europe, where she worked as the Paris editor of Woman’s Home Companion and a correspondent for the French magazine Réalités. With an avid interest in politics and world affairs, she boasted of having hosted the initial meeting between General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower and Republican Party leaders. This connection led her to bequeath a $100,000 collection of antique English and French vermeil, or gilded silver, to the White House in 1956. Accepted by the U.S. government a year later, the col-
lection, which was intended to be used at state dinners, was eventually stored in the Vermeil Room, which, appropriately enough, was decorated during the Kennedy administration by Stéphane Boudin.5 Boudin probably met Biddle in Paris before the war, but Maison Jansen may not have counted her as a client until the liberation of France in 1944.6 For Les Embruns, the Frenchman created a comfortable vocabulary befitting the villa’s lush Riviera setting and its owner’s reputation as a hostess. Whitewashed walls, slipcovered chairs, and a mélange of Italian 18th- and 19th-century painted furniture established a somewhat informal feeling in the stone and stucco mansion. To
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...