Thursday, September 17, 2009

My grandparents:
My grandmother Christiane (with her new husband, left, and his equally-towering brother) on their wedding day in Italy.
She was:
- elegant
- stubborn
- impetuous
- difficult
- eternal beloved of her husband
- a perpetual student and collector of art
- an eternal aesthete
- famous for her personal style (her closet was something to behold, and she had her own standards - for instance, she never once in her life allowed a pair of pumps or heels to adorn her feet. Ballet flats, spectators and espadrilles only.)
- the best cook I ever had the pleasure of both watching and enjoying
- born in France, educated in Florence, married to a Dutch man
- a brilliant self-trained interior designer
- possessed of the finest eye for color I've ever seen in one human being
My grandfather, J. Constant "Jack" aka "The Captain"
He was:
- kind
- brilliant
- refined
- ever-humble
- soft spoken
- a conoisseur of his wife's French desserts
- a philosopher
- a problem solver
- a dedicated follower of Buddhism (which he employed in his workplace if not - as you can see - in his personal style)
- a self-made man and world-respected inventor/engineer
- Born in Holland, educated in the UK
- a profoundly-beloved icon to those who worked under him
- a philanthropist
- a fan of ham radios and fine European cars

This is my grandmother, my mother and I in Brissac, Herault, Languedoc, the year that my grandparents were in the process of restoring their 11th-century chateau (you can still see sky through some of the upper windows, but the restoration was well underway).
My mum and I in the orchard below.
My grandparents' style, their grace, their philanthropy and philosophy of living, and their appreciation of art and literature have been and will always remain a profound influence on me.


  1. Your grandparents are fascinating. The chateau even without being restored, I am sure left an indelible mark on you. To grow up touched by such stark beauty, changes you forever.

  2. By the way some cheekbones on your grandfather! I can see where you get yours!