RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day eight – morning: The Sistine Chapel

English Martyrs

I’m skipping ahead to day eight but I’ll be back to pick up days six and seven… sorry, there’s no avoiding it!

Yes, I’m looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. No, I’m not in Rome… still in Worthing!

English Martyrs

I’m at the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring-by-Sea.

English Martyrs

The ceiling is at 2/3 scale of the original Michelangelo painting in the Vatican. The colors match the newly cleaned ceiling in Rome.

English martyrs

The work was painted by Gary Bevans, a sign writer who is a parishioner of the church. He is a natural artist with no formal training. After a parish pilgrimage trip to Rome in 1987 to attend the Beatification of 85 English Martyrs, he gained permission from the Vatican and the bishop to reproduce the ceiling in Worthing.

english martyrs

Several years ago my friend JM and I enjoyed a two-week, two thousand-mile trip of Italy. Our first visit to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was very rushed so our tour guide could get us to the gift shop! So as J and I had planned some extra time in Rome at the end of the trip, we visited the Sistine Chapel again on our own. We sat for a good hour looking up at the ceiling. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

English MartyrsWith this reproduction you are much closer to the ceiling and it’s easier to see the details, even at 2/3 scale. It’s certainly impressive.

English MartyrsThe project took five and a half years to complete in the evenings and weekends. Gary also had to continue his full time day job. And spend time with his family!

English MartyrsIt was most certainly a labor of love.

English Martyrs Three volunteers were working in the church when I was there. They were all really lovely people. One of them gave me a tour of the church and told me the story of the ceiling. As I told them I was considering moving back to Worthing, they gave me some recommendations for real estate agents to talk to (which I did) and some ideas for the neighborhoods that might suit me the best.

English MartyrsI enjoyed the visit to the church and recommend it to anybody who might be visiting the area. I didn’t get a photo of the outside of the church. The building was not what I expected… not the least bit pretentious… I would describe it as a country church. I almost walked past it.

English Martyrs

The English Martyrs window. The Roman Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation were men and women executed under treason legislation in the English Reformation between 1534 and 1680.  In 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Lovely.

More images from the church:









English martyrs

This painting is a modernized version of da Vinci’s the Last Supper. Local people from the parish were used as models.

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California Art Club at the Natural History Museum

I had previously visited the California Art Club 107th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at the Natural History Museum with my friend SB when we stopped by the Butterfly Pavilion a couple of weeks ago. I liked it so much I suggested it as an activity for our Culver City Art Group
It’s so hard to get people to leave home. One other member, aside from BG and myself, showed up.
Too bad as they missed a super exhibit. I have to say I have never seen so many wonderful paintings in one place. The exhibit ended today. I only wish it went on longer as I would have visited it a third time!
Not only inspirational for painters but for photographers (like myself) as well.The composition is the same for a painter and a photographer. I get a lot of ideas from looking at paintings. This road cutting through Death Valley makes the painting. You probably can’t see it but there’s a car on the highway with red tail lights.
I love this bridge at Yosemite. I’ve taken a few photos of it!I enjoy taking photos of chairs and benches so this appealed to me.
Market Street in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities.california art club

This painting at the entrance to the exhibit was one of my favorites. After the exhibit we ventured outside where members of the California Art Club were painting scenes of the gardens.

BG recognized Xavier Gonzalez, a very talented artist who used to be a member of the Culver City Art Group. He was invited to paint with the California Art Club.

We stopped to talk to this gentleman, Donald Townes, who was painting a very colorful scene. You can see another spectacular ocean painting of his here.

One last painting of Malibu from the vineyards in the hills.

I’m a member of the Natural History Museum and I find it money well spent as I enjoy the permanent exhibits and the temporary exhibits like this one!


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BG and RMW’s big birthday bash

pershing square building

Pershing Square Building in downtown LA with PERCH restaurant/bar on the roof.

My birthday is in May and my friend BG’s birthday is in June so we decided to have a birthday bash this past Saturday. The last time we did a birthday bash was two years ago which I documented at this link.

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/belated-birthday-bash/

Left to right. US Bank Building, Deloitte Building (formerly Gas Building), new construction, California Plaza (in background), Title Guarantee Building, Pershing Square Building (peeking in at right side)

We’re in the middle of June Gloom (not to be confused with May Gray although very similar!). The good news is the sun usually comes out late morning/early afternoon.

downtown la

Not sure what building this is but I love the mural

We both live in Culver City so we took the Expo Line train to 7th Street Metro Center Station and walked a few blocks (we could have transferred to the Red Line and exited at Pershing Square but it wasn’t worth the effort for a one-minute ride).

downtown la

There’s construction going on all over LA these days… mixed use projects… too much traffic, too many people…

 

downtown la

Detail of the Pershing Square Building. The 1920s were the glory days of downtown… fortunately most of the beaux artes and art deco buildings still remain to live a new life today.

downtown la

We took the elevator to Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. We ordered our drinks. B liked the idea of the My Fair Lady with vodka. I ordered the gin Hemingway on the Beach. I don’t particularly like very sweet drinks and this fit the bill. We each had two cocktails (it was our birthday bash…).

downtown la

We both ordered the Huevos Rancheros. I happen to be an expert on this dish (!) and I have to say this was about the best I have ever laid eyes on and eaten! They came with Perch potatoes that melted in my mouth. I’m also a potato aficionado…

downtown la

I can only assume these were the original 1920s tile floors… exquisite.

downtown la

downtown la

If you love downtown LA as I do, you can’t go wrong with this view. As I was sucking up the huevos I was looking directly at the Title Guaranty Building. Originally built as an office building it is now re-used as residential lofts, as are many of the 1920s office buildings in downtown.

California Plaza in the center. Beneath it is the Subway Building. Yes, there was a subway in LA.

downtown la

Looking down on Pershing Square with the Biltmore Hotel at right middle.

It’s fabulous to see the revitalization of downtown which really began in the 1980s. Before that it had become a virtual dead zone. It’s weird to think that most of the people who now live downtown in converted lofts and apartments weren’t even on the planet when the area was pretty much desolate. But I remember!

la downtown

Detail of the Title Guaranty Building

la downtownWe were told that our table reservation could only be held for 15 minutes if we were late. We could see why as the place was packed for lunch on Saturday.

la downtown

We were entertained by Emma-Jane and her band. A lovely selection of songs.

la downtown

View of the restaurant interior and bar

la downtown

We visited the 16th floor which is a bar only. Looked very cosy. And the sun was coming out.

la downtown

US Bank Building, Biltmore Hotel,Deloitte Building, California Plaza

We could have stayed at Perch for the rest of the day as we felt so relaxed and comfortable. But it was time to move on.

la downtown
We were on our way to the Intercontinental Wilshire Grand. On the way we passed one of my favorite buildings, originally the Sanwa Bank Building, not sure what it is currently. It’s a beautiful 1990s homage to the art deco style of the 1920s.

la downtown

Street entrance to Wilshire Grand Hotel

la downtown

Entrance to Wilshire Grand

 

la downtown
Across the street, another of my favorite buildings, originally a Home Savings bank, the lobby is on the 6th floor to allow parking on the lower floors because the Red Line train station was built under the building where underground parking would have been. Maybe the new Wilshire Grand took a cue from Home Savings with their 70th floor lobby?

la downtownla downtownThe Wilshire Grand lobby offers fabulous views of downtown, an upscale bar and comfy seating.

la downtown

la downtownThis thingamajig is holding the building up!

la downtownThe first time I saw the view from these windows I had a bad vertigo attack. Now I’ve been up there a few times it doesn’t bother me. It’s all in the head.

la downtownView of Echo Park Lake, about 3 miles from downtown. This reminded me that I need to visit there before the Lotus flowers fade.

la downtown
We ordered drinks… some concoction with Roses Lime Juice. Very tasty but too sweet for me.

We ordered drinks  At 4:00pm the open air rooftop bar opened… we were on it! I felt like I was on a cruise ship. Hmm… it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a cruise… I think I’m ready to go again!

la downtown

The mast which makes this the fake tallest building in LA!

la downtown

B ordered another sweet drink but I went with a Gin Gibson to get that tart onion flavor. We shared an order of chicken wings for some much needed protein.

santa monica

It was a wonderful experience sitting on top of the world, but we wanted to go west to the Santa Monica Pier to finish up the day. Fortunately we were just a few footsteps away from the train station. So we jumped on the Expo Line and headed for the beach. The pier was jammed with people out for a summer evening.

la downtownWe were glad we weren’t driving and having to hunt for a parking space!

santa monicaAll the cars on Pacific Coast Highway were heading back into town.

santa monica

santa monica

Despite all the people I always love to see the ocean. There’s no way I could ever live far from it.

santa monica

santa monica

We walked back into downtown Santa Monica. santa monica

The Third Street Promenade was alive and well on a Saturday night. We were looking for ice cream but settled for milk shakes. I ordered a Kit Kat shake. The last time I had a milk shake was at a McDonald’s in Oregon in 2015. It was a vanilla shake and possibly the best thing I ever ate in my life! But this shake was even better. Maybe in three years I can have another shake!

We headed home to Culver City on the Expo Line, two very happy birthday girls…

 

 

 


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Super afternoon at Hauser & Wirth

hauser & wirth

Detail of capitol of pillar

Four members of the Culver City Art Group shared a lovely visit to Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, an art gallery in the Arts District neighborhood of downtown LA. Three of us, B, K and me, rode the Expo Line to the Red Line to the Gold Line and met R there. She drove. Maybe next time we can get her on the train!

Mark Bradford

The first exhibit was artwork by Mark Bradford. I’ve seen his work at another art museum and fell in love with his images. See my blog post about that exhibit here.

Mark Bradford

Some contemporary art I can walk right by and other work sucks me in. His images are definitely of the latter variety.

Hauser & Wirth

The gallery was originally an old flour mill built from 1896 to 1929. Fortunately the gallery has left a lot of details from that time.

old flour mill built in phases from 1896 to 1929

Bradford’s work is very complex. It’s spectacular from a distance but you need to view it close up to really get it.

hauser & wirth

Looking up at the skylight in the first gallery

hauser & wirth
I can’t help it, I was as captivated by the details of the building as I was by the art work!

hauser & wirth

Shadows and reflections on the window screen.

hauser & wirth

No visit to an art gallery or museum is complete without lunch. We ate at Manuela, opened since my last visit. For a look at the original post, April 2016, click here.

hauser & wirth

My choice for lunch was the polenta with mushrooms and egg. Delish.

hauser & wirth

Can’t go wrong eating outside on a beautiful Southern California April day!

hauser & wirth

Love nasturtiums. Just some of the edible plants and veggies growing in the planter garden used by the restaurant.

hauser & wirth

Metal gate

hauser & wirth

Building on view from across the street.

  hauser & wirth

Manuela raises their own chickens for the egg dishes.

hauser & wirth

Very happy birds…

hauser & wirth

The beauty of old brick and peeling paint.

hauser & wirth

Geta Bratescu

hauser & wirth

Metal exit doors

hauser & wirth

The galleries are spacious.

hauser & wirth

Sometimes it’s hard for me to distinguish the artwork from the architecture…. or maybe there is no distinction.

hauser & wirth

hauser & wirth

hauser & wirth
So happy somebody had the vision to incorporate the details from the old factory. This is very satisfying to me.

hauser & wirth

Let’s not omit the wall in the Ladies Room!

hauser & wirth

hauser & wirthI’ll leave you here. Just a great day of visual delights with good friends who love art as much as I do!


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Yosemite – part three – a walk to the Majestic

yosemite

Upper Yosemite Falls

On Sunday S and I decided to walk the two miles from Yosemite Valley Lodge over to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel).

yosemite 
It was another chilly sunny morning and I was beginning to doubt I would ever experience snow at Yosemite in my lifetime!

yosemite

Although we enjoyed the group hike the day before, we were equally happy to have time on our own, going at our own speed and stopping to take photos.

yosemite

A lot of the trees looked pretty brown and dried up. I wasn’t sure if that was the drought or the time of year.

yosemite
The bare tree branches allowed for some dramatic scenes.

yosemite

A rather ominous sign. Does that mean the rest of the park is full of guns?

yosemite

Like Mona Lisa’s eyes, Yosemite Falls followed us along our route.

yosemite
Our plan was to eat lunch at the hotel bar then take a docent tour of the Majestic Hotel.

yosemite

Two of the light fixtures in the bar, one with bears, the other with pine trees.

yosemite

After lunch we had a wait for the docent tour so I hunkered down for a nap in a very comfy chair in the Writing Room next to a window  with a lovely view.

yosemite

View of the hotel built right up against the mountain.

yosemite yosemiteOur tour guide was very lively and passionate about his subject. He told us he had been climbing El Capitan and Half Dome since he was about four years old with his parents.

yosemite

Although our accommodations at the lodge were very comfortable I wouldn’t mind staying at the Majestic (Ahwahnee) on my next visit! This last photo shows what the original decoration of the walls and ceilings looked like. You can see the areas that have been uncovered under the yellow and brown paint. At one point it was thought to be too busy so it was painted over.

Yosemite


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A quick visit to San Francisco from Coit Tower to Pier 39

coit tower

In July I visited my good friend Judy who moved from Orange County in Southern California to Walnut Creek in Northern California a few years ago. Every year I said I was coming up to visit but you know how that goes. So this year I said this is it, I’m going.

I flew into San Francisco International Airport and took the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train to Walnut Creek where Judy picked me up. Simple! Why couldn’t things be that easy and civilized in Los Angeles? By the time we get a direct connection into LAX I probably won’t still be on the planet! Good thing I live fairly close to the airport so it’s a relatively short ride by taxi.

coit tower muralsI had read about the renovations of the 1934 murals at Coit Tower so I wanted to visit there as part of my trip up north. Fortunately, Judy was willing. So one day we took BART back into the city. I love San Francisco. Although it’s totally different from London, when I’m there I feel the same vibe.

coit tower murals

The bad news was the line for the elevator up to the top of Coit Tower was long. The really good news is that while you are waiting you have the opportunity to see the fabulous murals up close.

coit tower murals

Also some nice views out of the doors at the ground level. Of course, Coit Tower is at the top of a steep hill. So even though you may be at the base, there are still commanding views of the bay.

coit tower murals

So it was a toss up which was more fabulous… the spectacular views or the amazing murals.

coit tower

How often do you have choices like that?

coit tower murals

And on top of everything else, I had the privilege of spending time with my lovely friend Judy!

coit tower murals

From the website: The murals inside the tower’s base were painted in 1934 by a group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and depict life in California during the Depression. When violence broke out during the 1934 longshoremen’s strike, controversy over the radical content in some of the panels became quite heated. Some of the most controversial elements were painted over, and the tower was padlocked for several months before the frescoes were finally opened to the public in the fall of 1934.

coit tower murals

The artists (including Maxine AlbroVictor Arnautoff, Ray Bertrand, Rinaldo Cuneo, Mallette Harold Dean, Gordon Langdon, Clifford Wight, Edith HamlinGeorge Albert HarrisOtis OldfieldSuzanne Scheuer, Hebe Daum, Jane BerlandinaFrederick E. Olmsted Jr., Jose Moya del Pino and Frede Vidar) were committed in varying degrees to racial equality and to leftist and Marxist political ideas strongly expressed in the paintings. (Wikipedia.)

coit tower

When you get out of the elevator at the top of the tower there are a few more steps. Then some good views of San Francisco. I was having a little problem with my vertigo but managed to get a few good shots with my point & shoot anyway.

I purposely left my DSLR at Judy’s place that day as before I left LA I read that a 70-year-old photographer had been murdered near Coit Tower recently for his camera equipment and I wasn’t taking any chances! Apparently there are roving gangs of thieves in San Francisco attacking tourists for their photography gear. I have a very basic Canon DSLR but in the moment a thief may not have time to check out my model number!!!

coit tower

We had walked up to the tower but were in no mood to walk all the way down. We saw car after car (presumably Uber or Lyft) arriving to pick up groups of people. But we had already determined we could get back down to the waterfront for just a few cents by public transportation. And pretty soon the bus arrived. I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay taxi fare when the cost of a bus ride is so cheap. Most people are too hung up on riding in cars!

Some info from Wikipedia: Coit Tower, also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San FranciscoCalifornia. The tower, in the city’s Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit‘s bequest to beautify the city of San Francisco; at her death in 1929 Coit left one-third of her estate to the city for civic beautification. The tower was proposed in 1931 as an appropriate use of Coit’s gift. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2008.

pier 39

The bus took us all the way down to the waterfront and we had a nice walk to Pier 39. It was pretty crowded.

I really enjoyed seeing all the sea lions and the crowds of spectators appreciating them too. We had a lovely seafood lunch and afterwards another nice walk to the Ferry Building and back to the BART station.

Along the way we saw these vintage trolley cars still doing their duty.

san francisco

I’ve always loved San Francisco and just wish it was possible to visit more often. It’s just a matter of time and money!


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Culver City’s Screenland 100th birthday 5K, The Race of the Century

screenland 5KCulver City was incorporated on September 20, 1917 so our little town of approximately 40,000 people has been celebrating our 100th birthday since last year.

One of the celebratory events was the “Screenland 5K, The Race of the Century,” in which I participated. Lori Escalara headed a team to help support the restoration of public murals in Culver City so I figured that was a good reason to plonk down the entrance fee, not to mention the T-shirt and medal that came with it!

Screenland 5K 100thCulver City birthdayUnfortunately it turned out to be a rather grungy day weather-wise with no sun. At one point I had to walk with my camera inside my jacket. But it could have been worse.

screenland 5K

We were entertained by bands along the way.

screenland 5K

I was ten minutes late getting to the start line and by the time I had walked a few yards, many of the serious runners had already completed the first third of the 5K (3.1-mile) course and had turned around.

The race was scheduled for the morning of February 26 to coincide with the date of the 89th Academy Awards later in the day.

screenland 5K

Culver City is dubbed “The Heart of Screenland” because of the numerous movies filmed at studios such as MGM, Columbia, Sony, RKO, Desilu, Selznick and many, many more.

The Heart of Screenland

Perhaps the most famous movies are “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” But I also have to mention “Singing in the Rain.” Some of the 5K participants dressed up as their favorite movie characters. I was just ME!!!!

The Heart of Screenland

Sony and Culver Studios opened their lots to the 5K participants.


I was looking forward to getting some close-ups of the Rainbow sculpture inside the gates… too bad the sky was so grey.

screenland 5K

But I was happy to get a good shot of the artwork for my all time favorite movie “Lawrence of Arabia” which I have watched numerous times. I love everything about it from Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif to the spectacular photography and the glorious music. I realize the story isn’t that close to being accurate but that doesn’t stop my appreciation of the film.

screenland 5K

A peek into a “window” to see a gathering of classic movie stars.

screenland 5Kscreenland 5K

I walk or drive by Sony Studios several times a week on my way somewhere but it was nice to see inside. I have actually taken visitors from out of town on the studio tour a couple of times. And, of course, the exterior is on my Culver City walking tours.

screenland 5K

My final time was something in the range of 1 hour, 20 minutes so obviously I wasn’t going for any prizes! I was having more fun taking photos.

Click on any image for the slide show:

After I completed the 5K I felt like I could have kept going. So in a couple of weeks some friends and I will be walking the 6-mile CicLAvia route from Culver City to Venice Beach.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Culver City photo walk

sony studios

Yesterday was the inaugural walk of my photography Meetup group, Walk & Talk Photography. It was a good group and an interesting experience.

Although I’ve taken photos of most of these places before, every time I look through the lens I see something new and different.

Following are some of the photos I took on the walk. Click on a photo for the slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Southwestern Law School at the former Bullocks Wilshire

Bullocks Wilshire

Some weeks ago B, G, E and I (as in me) went on the self-guided tour of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. Several months ago G mentioned that once a year, the Southwestern Law School opened its doors to the public. So I was looking forward to a look inside this Los Angeles icon.

Bullocks Wilshire

The text in italics is from the tour literature and copyright 2014 Southwestern Law School.

Designed in 1929 by renowned Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson, the Bullocks Wilshire Building operated as a luxury department store for more than 60 years.

Bullocks Wilshire

Ceiling of the cactus lounge.

In 1994, Southwestern purchased the landmark [building] and set out to convert it into a dynamic academic venue, while retaining its historic character.

Bullocks Wilshire

A decade and $29 million later, the gleaming property features cutting edge scholastic, professional and social resources that represent the heart of the Southwestern community.

Bullocks Wilshire

I remember enjoying an afternoon in the tea room with my mother in the 1960s when we first arrived in Los Angeles. I don’t believe the tea room has changed very much since that time.

Bullocks Wilshire

Replica of one of the gorgeous art deco serving stations.

Bullocks Wilshire

Exterior building detail seen from  the window of the tea room.

Bullocks Wilshire

I love light fixtures and these art deco beauties really caught my eye.

Apparently the light fixtures, serving centers, tables and chairs are exact replicas of the originals.

Bullocks Wilshire

This original mosaic tile floor was in a passageway off the tea room.

bullocks-073116-017-C-550px

Bullocks Wilshire

John Bullock’s Suite, his private office and apartment.

Bullocks Wilshire

The office leads out on to a rooftop garden.

Bullocks Wilshire

This wonderful tile drinking fountain was discovered behind a plaster wall. Note the child’s step which was replaced during the restoration.

bullocks-073116-027-C-550px

Bullocks Wilshire

I am a big fan of art deco design so I was in heaven on this tour.

Now, where patrons once shopped for women’s sportswear, students study in the school’s beautiful and expansive Leigh H. Taylor Law Library, which occupies about one-third of the building.

Bullocks Wilshire

In what was once the first floor shoe salon and accessories department, the Julian C. Dixon Courtroom and Advocacy Center provides the most technologically advanced facility of its kind.

Southwestern has received numerous honors from preservation groups for its sensitive restoration of the structure. Blending elegant architecture with state-of-the-art educational resources, the Bullocks Wilshire Building epitomizes Southwestern’s commitment to excellence.

I am grateful that Southwestern is willing to allow public tours of the campus. The Bullocks Wilshire Building is a Los Angeles jewel and a fabulous example of art deco design so popular in our city in the 1920s. And most important, the building is an outstanding model of successful reuse.

Bullocks Wilshire

Department stores have played a big part in the history of LA. See my post here on the Virginia Robinson Gardens and the home of the heir to the Robinson Department Stores.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Gardens of privilege – Virginia Robinson Estate

virginia robinson gardens

View of the main house

The informative text in italics is taken directly from the Virgina Robinson Gardens website.

As long as I have lived in Los Angeles (all my adult life) I am still learning about and discovering new places. This is one such place.

virginia robinson gardens

Lawns are no longer bright green in LA due to the severe drought.

It was a hot day so I decided against taking the bus and struggling up the hill behind Sunset Boulevard… and Cinnamon Girl needed an outing. So I drove my car with the lovely air conditioning.

virginia robinson gardens

Pool house is undergoing renovation and pool is drained.

Built in 1911, the Robinson mansion was one of the first homes in Beverly Hills. Known for hosting the areas most legendary parties—it was not uncommon to catch famed individuals entering and leaving the estate.

virginia robinson gardens

Today, the garden is recognized as not only a historical landmark, but also as an exotic paradise that all sightseers are invited to enjoy.

virginia robinson gardens

When Virginia Robinson died in 1977 just before her 100th birthday, she was arguably one of the last grand dames of the Hollywood era. Nevertheless, she left her legendary home and gardens in serious disrepair. A leaky roof and a dangerous electrical system threatened the very survival of this cultural landmark.

virginia robinson gardens

“The Friends of Robinson Gardens” was founded in 1982 with a Board of Directors and a general membership of over 75 committed women.

virginia robinson gardens

A great deal was accomplished in a short period of time. The Friends of Robinson Gardens raised enough money to begin crucial repairs, establish docent programs, and begin educational seminars. Coincidentally, Robinsons Department Store, originally known as the Boston Dry Goods Store in downtown Los Angeles and owned by Harry Robinson’s family, was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

virginia robinson gardens

A letter from President Reagan that year called the Friends of Robinson Gardens “a fine example of what can be accomplished through cooperation between the private and public sector,” and congratulated the group on its significant accomplishments. Since its inception in 1982, the Friends have restored all of the historic buildings on the property according to the strict standards set by the Department of Interior and the Friends are contributing one quarter of the Gardens annual operating budget.

virginia robinson gardens

Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open by appointment to the public. Located behind the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the beautiful six-acre property contains a breathtaking display garden, mansion and pool pavilion.

virginia-robinson-073016-027-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

The Robinson Gardens was once the site of lavish Hollywood parties. Mrs. Robinson was known as the first lady of Beverly Hills and her triumphs as a hostess are legendary: her diverse guests included royalty such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Hollywood stars like Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire; her neighbors were Glenn Ford, Lillian Disney and Elvis Presley. She sipped champagne cocktails with Sophia Loren and challenged Charlie Chaplin to a spirited game of tennis – all with her signature elegance and class.

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

She was equally renowned for her philanthropy. Among the many benefits she hosted, the Hollywood Bowl Patronesses Benefit was a favorite. Each year, after the opening of the Hollywood Bowl season, the orchestra would repeat their performance on the estate’s Great Lawn, to the delight of her guests.

virginia-robinson-073016-037-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

Shortly before her death in 1977, Mrs. Robinson bequeathed her estate to Los Angeles County. The County, along with the not-for-profit organization Friends of Robinson Gardens, preserves the estate for future generations to enjoy.

virginia-robinson-073016-044-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

As the first luxury estate built in the world’s most famous residential neighborhood [Beverly Hills], the multi-faceted historic property provides an opportunity to experience the world of privilege in early Los Angeles.

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

This cat was not at all disturbed by the visitors intruding on his shady nap. I believe his name is Henry or Harry, just can’t remember which!

virginia robinson gardens

A couple of very fancy bird houses… well, they are Beverly Hills birds!

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virginia robinson gardens

The potting shed

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virginia robinson gardens

It’s Southern California so you gotta have a palm tree forest in your garden!

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virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

The perfect location for a mid afternoon cup of tea!

virginia robinson gardens

And of course, a pink tennis court. Why not?

We were able to tour the interior of the house but not allowed to take photos.

Traffic was pretty bad driving through Beverly Hills back to Culver City on a Saturday afternoon but my chauffeur had the day off, so what could I do?

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