About the lecture:
Enemies for centuries, the British and French frequently found common ground on art. French art, that is! Even during the most ferocious wars against France, the British were buying French art and furniture for their homes. During the French Revolution the British aristocracy, shocked at the horror of the fate of the French nobility, acquired their possessions for sentimental, as well as aesthetic and opportunistic, reasons.
There was no more enthusiastic member of the British Francophile Club than the Prince Regent, later King George IV. In the early 19th century, in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, when the security of Europe hung by a thread, George was buying immense quantities of Sèvres and French furniture, paintings, and decorative arts for his homes: Carlton House, Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace. These royal residences, the creations of George IV, were filled with enormous amounts of French art. Windsor, in particular (within its castle shell), is a glittering French palace with a collection of Gallic art that would be the envy of any king of France.
But this love of all things French wasn’t confined to the king. Members of the aristocracy, from the 1st Duke of Montagu, four times British ambassador to the Court of Louis XIV, to the 3rd Duke of Richmond at Goodwood House, to the 10th Duke of Hamilton at Hamilton Palace, voraciously collected all things French. It wasn’t just the old aristocracy that caught this French zeal, however; the new rich, like the English Rothschilds, created country houses that were a paean to French art and design. This passion spread to the capital, where many of the greatest London townhouses, filled with breathtaking collections of French art, were modeled on the sumptuous hôtels particuliers of Paris.
All of these intriguing threads will be woven together by historian Curt DiCamillo to showcase a unique, and ongoing, collaboration borne of emulation, competition, and a shared love of beauty.
About Curt DiCamillo:
Mr. DiCamillo is an internationally recognized authority on English country houses and the decorative arts. Currently, he is the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s first Curator of Special Collections. He has led highly successful heritage tours to England and Scotland, has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad, and has taught classes on British culture and art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and elsewhere. Previously, he was for many years Executive Director of The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, based in Boston, where he successfully raised over $7 million and initiated many innovative programs. In addition, he worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for 13 years.
About Gore Place:
The Governors of Gore Place welcome members of the French Heritage Society’s Boston Chapter to the estate of Massachusetts Governor and US Senator Christopher Gore (1758-1827) and his wife Rebecca (1759-1834). The Gore Mansion, completed in 1806, was designed by Mrs. Gore in collaboration with French architect, Jacques LeGrand. Today this Mansion is considered to be one of the finest Federal style mansions in America.
Letters between Mr. Gore and his friend, New York Governor Rufus King, share details of the collaboration. Mr. Gore writes on July 3, 1801 while they were residing in Paris: “Mrs. G is now with Monsieur LeGrand in the adjoining parlour building houses.” The Gores met LeGrand during their travels to Paris to spend some time on the Continent before returning to the US.
The mission of Gore Place is to preserve and promote the 1806 country estate of Christopher and Rebecca Gore as a unique community resource that tells the story of early 19th century American life. Learn more at www.goreplace.org.
Over the past 35 years, our generous supporters have helped us fulfill our three parallel missions – to preserve historic French architecture in France and the United States, to organize educational exchanges between our two countries and to promote French-American friendship.
In 2017, French Heritage Society raised over $1.1 million in support of 21 restoration and cultural grants in the United States and in France – a historic milestone! To date, we have awarded over 570 restoration grants.
In 2017, 38 French and American students crossed the Atlantic to pursue internships and training programs in the field of historic preservation as part of our Student Exchange Program. Since the program’s inception, nearly 440 students have benefitted from internships in esteemed cultural organizations.
Our dynamic network includes ten chapters across the United States and one in Paris. Each chapter presents diverse programming that raises critical funds for restoration and cultural grants. Collectively, they organize over 50 events and programs each year.