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The French Interior at Blythedunes

Charles and Jayne Wrightsman were a newly married couple living at The Pierre in NYC when a friend, the utilities tycoon Harrison Williams and his wife Mona, invited them to a party at their Palm Beach home. The Wrightsmans happily accepted the invitation.

Upon first look at the lush, green salon Jayne could see her life there, but it was not for sale. “Everything is for sale in the end” said Charles Wrightsman, and he was right. Harrison Williams fell on hard financial times and decided to sell the oceanfront Palm Beach mansion. The Wrightsmans purchased Blythedunes in 1947.

Originally a Tuscan-style stucco house, Jayne Wrightsman sought out French decorator Stéphane Boudin of Maison Jansen to convert Blythedunes into a showplace of French interior design, complete with parquet de Versailles floors from the Palais Royal in Paris. She became engrossed in French art, culture and design. As she later famously said, “I started sort of Marie Antionette-ing it up.”

After Boudin fell ill, Jayne asked well-known French decorator Henri Samuel to take over the project. Samuel brought a lighter, more approachable look to the house. Filled with beautiful decor and irreplaceable fine art, social historian Augustus Mayhew said that Blythedunes “with its security system worthy of the Met, may well have sheltered more great works of art than any other house in the United States.”

Like so many other ‘socially historic’ and elegant homes from that era, Blythedunes is now just a memory. But if you are looking, its treasures can still be found. Stair is pleased to be offering items from Blythedunes in our October 29th sale The Private Collection of Jayne Wrightsman.

 

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