Marjorie Merriweather Post: The Life Behind the Luxury
Estella M. Chung
UK£24.95 / US$29.95 Hardback
ISBN 978-1-911282-45-7 200
D Giles Limited in association with Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC, 2019
Complementing Chung’s first book Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post this richly illustrated volume takes a wider look at Mrs Post’s life from her birth in 1887 to her death in 1973. Hers was, thanks to her great wealth, a life that attracted press interest in her four marriages, social life, clothes and homes. Her father’s suicide was also another source of interest but her resulting ownership of the Postum Cereal Company was the start of her business interests and she amply proved that she was a capable and knowledgeable business woman. She was deeply philanthropic in both war and peacetime and Estella Cheung reveals this eloquently.
We join Mrs Post aboard her plane and yacht as she travels to either her Adirondack camp or cruises the Mediterranean and elsewhere but what particularly intrigued me was the 1904 journey taken with her father around southern England in a specially hired horse-drawn Stage Coach during which they visited Salisbury a place I know well.
Although she enjoyed a life of luxury and wealth it becomes clear that whatever her financial status Mrs Post would have been successful at anything she turned her hand to. That drive combined with her care and concern for others makes her a remarkable and memorable woman.
This new book focuses on the well-known collection of Fabergé at Hillwood and relates how new research and discovery of pieces thought to have been lost impact on items among the ninety or so pieces collected by Mrs Post.
We learn more about Fabergé’s firm in the 19th and early 20th centuries and its place in the world of goldsmithing and jewellery creation at that time. It is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated study that will appeal to collectors and lovers of social history alike.
The chapter on Mrs Post as a collector of Fabergé is revealing and one understands what type of works appealed to her aesthetically and the reasons why some offers were turned down. She certainly had a discerning eye!