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Spreckels Mansion, San Francisco

June 8, 2009

Fresh sketch from this weekend’s paint out with the North Bay Plein Air group (well three of us – maybe a bigger group next time? maybe some USK’ers?). Anyway, I hear a rumor that this is Danielle Steel’s house. It certainly has a romantic wedding cake look to it. I hope it’s true, cuz it’s encouraging to see an author with a weekend retreat like this.

Edit: – Ok – Thanks to Linda, I hear that this structure is the Spreckels Mansion. I really should do some research *before* I go painting :) Here’s a writeup about the famous landmark. Apparently Alma de Bretteville Spreckels also funded the construction of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. This is what I love about going sketching in this city! There’s so much history to learn.

Not to go on – but here’s a funny blurb I webbed up on Alma, via “Gourmet G”. on Yelp:

Despite her classy name, Alma de Bretteville was born into an impoverished farming family in what was then a wasteland, the city’s Sunset District, in 1881.

Tired of being dirt poor, at the age of fourteen she set out on her own, her good looks and height – she was six feet tall – making her an ideal subject for artists in need of a model. As such, her claim to fame is the statue atop the column in the center of Union Square, for which she posed bearing a wreath and trident.

But her real aim in life was to be a wealthy woman, and the sugar daddy she snagged was literally that – Adolph Spreckels, heir to the family fortune made in cane sugar. One of her first projects was construction of a cozy home for the couple, a white limestone mansion containing fifty-five rooms, including a Louis XVI ballroom. Fortunately, she wasn’t self-centered enough to stop there – she and her husband donated the Palace of the Legion of Honor, with its spectacular Rodin collection, in 1924. Later, her philanthropy extended to victims of the 1906 quake and relief efforts in both World Wars“.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Daily permalink
    June 9, 2009 12:16 AM

    This is a beautiful WC of the Spreckel’s Mansion.
    I lived in Pac.Hts. for 20 years and it made me homesick for the Bay and that gorgeous quality of light! I try to do WC sketching when I visit SF-does your group allow visitors?

    • tarosan permalink
      June 9, 2009 8:45 AM

      well the *group* is such a loosely organized bunch we’re basically all visitors :)

      but *I* for one will go painting at the drop of a hat :)

      drop me a line whenever you’re coming to town!

  2. June 10, 2009 8:30 PM

    Really enjoy your sketches- beautiful colors and architecture. I am in SF for only tomorrow morning and plan on doing a sketch down by the pier. Wish I had more time here, as it’s a beautiful city. Looking forward to seeing more of your sketches on USk.

  3. Linda Daily permalink
    June 11, 2009 12:29 PM

    That Alma was quite a gal!
    I will drop you a line before my next visit which is hopefully in late August.

  4. June 19, 2009 11:02 PM

    Look’s Great Marc. I really love the write up. I was wondering who’s house we were painting?

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