23 Jun 2015

The 1940s Paris Apartment

Picture the scene - Five years ago, one Solange Beaugiron, a 91-year-old French lady, passed away in the south of France, leaving in her estate a mysterious Paris apartment located in the 9th arrondissement, less than a mile away from Opéra Garnier. The apartment belonged to her grandmother, a one-time actress and high-class courtesan known as Marthe de Florian (1864-1939).

Marthe died in the apartment that she shared with her only son, Henri (1884-1966). In 1942, under the German occupation of Paris, Henri's daughter, Solange, relocated down south. Meanwhile Henri carried on leaving at the apartment until his death. Solange never returned to clear the property, instead limiting her involvement to paying the obligatory taxes and expenses.

Miraculously for all of those years that the Paris apartment had been put to a forced and restful slumber like Sleeping Beauty incarnate, it remained untouched. A thin veil of dust enshrined its contents, as if to preserve them from the harshness of the passing of time. When the De Florian estate officials carefully pushed open that front door, they were faced with the stuff of fairy tales that transcends any secret expectation: a treasure trove of time-defiant relics and antiques-worthy artefacts (the monumental vanity table to begin with!), not to mention piles of love letters, and a portrait of Marthe by Italian painter and personal admirer of hers, Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) that would go on to fetch a record €2.1 million at auction!

The apartment got Mirabelle's mind into overdrive. I imagine that some of the artefacts I have included below might well have found themselves at home in such a place! Just think of those little classy - short of rococo - vintage pieces that Madame de Florian would have fancied surrounding herself with: -

Are there any artefacts which you would like me to add to Madame de Florian's apartment? Let's have a little fun and email me the links to mirabelle.inspiration@gmail.com and I shall upload the pictures to this very article.

Sources: (1-3) Madame de Florian's apartment, via Démotivateur. (3) Portrait of Madame de Florian by Giovanni Boldini. The painting was found in the apartment. (4) Antique French Pink-Lined Trinket Box (jewellery case) and (5) Victorian 14K Gold Amethyst and Seed Pearl Ring, both via Paris Hotel Boutique. (6) Pellucid Earrings by Sorrelli, and (7) Pont d'Arcades Clutch by Santi, both via BHLDN. (8) Signed Art Nouveau 14K Gold Enameled Pansy Flower Pin Pendant and Watch Holder, via Ebay.

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