THIS WEEK’S PHOTOGRAPHIC inspiration is every bit as fantastical as that of Karen Knorr‘s, especially the glimpses into the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris, most of which are seen here . . .
Originally designed by Antoine Mazin (1679-1740) who was also involved with the building of the hôtel Matignon, [now the official residence of the prime minister of France], the house was built between 1722-25 for the duc de Charost.
In 1803, the house was sold to Pauline Leclerc, Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister. When the First Empire was proclaimed in 1804, Pauline became imperial Princess Borghese and the hôtel de Charost became the centre of a small, but fully-fledged court. Much of the luxurious furniture and decoration survives intact from this period to date.
In 1814, the hôtel de Charost was purchased by the Duke of Wellington, newly appointed British ambassador to France. The house then became the first embassy building purchased abroad by a British government, and remains one of the most spectacular historic homes in the French capital and the most impressive of all British ambassadorial residences abroad.