Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

A unique tribute to conspicuous consumption, Hearst Castle sits like a gothic wedding cake on a hilltop on the southern California coast.
Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle was a meal ticket for architect Julia Morgan for twenty-eight years, and the estate now includes the hotel sized big house and three guest cottages the size of mansions. Here’s one of the cottages.

William Randolph Hearst was a collector with the artistic sensibilities of a rabid magpie. He collected coffins, ceilings, floors, tapestries, and fragments of temple as well as more conventional artwork such as painting and sculpture. Morgan incorporated some of these fragments of antiquity into the building itself. The facade of the big house is littered with the plundered artistic wealth of Europe (don’t worry, they have plenty), arranged on reinforced concrete without regard to period and style.

Of course, you can’t use the front door any more as you would be walking on a Roman Mosaic.

Unlike that mosaic, which is two thousand years old, the roman swimming pool under the tennis courts is entirely twentieth century.
Indoor Pool

The interiors are also filled with a jumble of antiques. Here’s the games room.
Games Room

Fireplace in the living room.

Hearst used paper napkins for his celebrity guests. Our guide said it was because he considered them more hygienic (his mother died in a flu epidemic), but it could also be because he was promoting the Hearst organization’s vast holdings in forestry for paper production.
Place Setting

The theater seats fifty. Here’s one of the light fixtures.

I did mention Hearst collected coffins, right?

Hearst was fond of saying that the best thing about his home was the view.

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