Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the internet's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.
The beautiful Bellosguardo estate in Santa Barbara was owned by the reclusive Gilded Age heiress Huguette Clark, who at the time of her death in 2011 (at age 104!) had not set foot in the California manor since the early 1950s. Bellosguardo, atop a mesa and facing the Pacific, was one of several American palaces she owned but never truly enjoyed; Ms. Clark paid about $40,000 a month for a care-taking staff to keep the 23 room mansion on 23 acres in good condition. She did the same with her palatial house in Connecticut and her grand Fifth Avenue mega-apartment in New York. These photographs, taken in 1940 and reproduced in the 2012 book Empty Mansions, capture the Santa Barbara estate in all its French-harp-in-the-bedroom, rosewood-paneled glory.