Thursday, June 16, 2011

Villa Kerylos- The Entry

View of the Villa from the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

During my recent visit to the Cote d' Azure in the south of France, the highlight and most memorable experience for me was visiting the Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. It had been a long time dream of mine for many years. My fascination with the Villa began when during my San Francisco days I was working on an amazing project with my former boss, Steven Volpe. I had gone to one of our restorers and as I arrived I noticed that they were unloading a set of the most remarkable and beautiful chairs I had ever seen.

It turns out the set of Klysmos chairs were from the Villa Kerylos and had been acquired by the the extraordinary antique dealer Therien and Company. Since we were looking for dining chairs for our project I immediately picked up the phone and called Steven to tell him about these wonderful set of chairs. The next day we had purchased them for our client and they looked perfect in her dining room. So that is where my fascination began for the Villa.

The Villa Kerylos was built for Theodore Reinach (1860-1928) who was a French archaeologist, mathematician, lawyer, papyrologist, philologist (study of language), epigrapher (study of inscriptions), historian, numismatist (study or collector of currency), musicologist, professor and politician. Whhheeeww, how someone can achieve all of that in their life is quite amazing!

He hired the architect Emmanuel Pontremoli to design a replica of a Greek dwelling right on the very edge of the sea. The villa was built between 1902 and 1908 and before even stepping inside it is very clear that no expense was spared for creating a truly authentic greek home. In 1928, after Reinachs death, he beqeathed the Villa to the Institute of France.

So let's begin our tour by starting in the entrance hall of this magnificent home.

Detail of the front door with the bronze knocker

Steps leading to the entry to the Villa

Detail of the mosaic floor. The rooster mosaic is I believe from the 2nd century b.c.

The richly decorated plaster walls

Bronze snake on marble and bronze console


David Toms said...

So wonderful that you were able to fulfill the dream and visit! Look forward to the rest, and if this is anything to go by I am sure it will be fabulous!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I'm so jealous - on my top list of places to visit. Do you have the book on the villa? Fantastic!

columnist said...

You seem to be having far too good a time. I am jealous!

Michael Hampton said...

Stefan- you will think had died and gone to heaven. If you make it be sure to give yourself a full day just to look at all the details. I made the mistake of not buying the French version of the book in the gift shop thinking that I could get the English edition on amazon or something. Well it's out of print!

The Peak of Chic said...

This is amazing, Michael!

The Devoted Classicist said...

I have long wanted to visit this house. But I am wondering how it came to be that the chairs were sold?

Michelle H. said...

Hi Michael,
Thanks so much for sharing... this is wonderful! I'm so glad you had a great time, I would love to go there some day too. Have a great summer!

Mark Harman said...

An inspiring villa created by the most erudite of architects.
You have excellent taste !

Jane Kilpatrick Schott said...

Fabulous. I must put this on my Bucket List. The poultry mosaic is fantastic.