BOOK REVIEW: Villa Astor

VILLA ASTOR Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast

Introduction by The Right Honourable the Lord Astor of Hever

Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell and Rita Vessichelli Pane Photography by Eric Sander

ISBN 978-2-08-137592-5

The Villa Astor has, as the cover illustration suggests, rather a splendid location in the town of Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples. A former American ambassador to Italy William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) acquired the Villa and its surrounding properties in 1905 and then went on to transform it. He was certainly well practiced in such matters for in the United Kingdom he had an office at 2, Temple Place, and also homes at Hever Castle and Cliveden (he gave the latter to his son as a wedding present in 1906). As well as building up a large collection of classical sculpture at the Villa Astor he also had a Pompeian-style villa built on the east side of the gardens. Following Astor’s death the Italian government stepped in and said the sculpture collections and gardens should be protected and remain part of the villa.


It is a great survival having withstood different owners and World War II – and now following a restoration by the new owners, with the help of the famous French decorator Jacques Garcia. this extensively illustrated book celebrates the Villa in its full glory while telling the tale of its intriguing history. Can’t ask for much more really.


 ‘Italian Treasures’, Brun Fine Art, 38 Old Bond Street, London W1, until 16th December 2016

Trapani (Sicily), Early 18th Century Nativity Ivory, Coral, Tortoise, Lapis, Bronze 35 x 30 cm

Trapani (Sicily), Early 18th Century
Ivory, Coral, Tortoise, Lapis, Bronze
35 x 30 cm

I thought, given the time of year, I would use this Nativity image to draw your attention to this exhibition of fine coral objects created in Trapani in Sicily which are shown alongside 17th and 18th century Italian bronzes and old master paintings.

Installation view

Installation view