NOVEMBER 7, 1951
PARIS, Tuesday—It is pleasant to think that the White House will have such an interesting gift as that which King George sent to be presented by his daughter, Princess Elizabeth. The candelabrum and the mirror with an inset painting above it will add greatly to whatever room they are placed in. And I am sure there will be no difficulty in the acceptance of this gift by the Art Commission and by Congress. Once this is done they become a permanent part of the White House and cannot be removed.
Sunday I saw some very beautiful things. Miss Thompson and I were driven up to Chantilly to get a look at the outside of the Chateau and the ponds around it. The day was so cold, however, that I scarcely appreciated the beauty. Thanks to my friends, Mr. and Mrs. James Hendrick, we were met by the director at the door and given the very rare privilege of seeing one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. I kept wishing my husband could have seen it.
It was the Treasure Hour Book of the Duke de Barry, which was illuminated by the two brothers, John and Herman Pol. They began their work in 1415, or thereabouts. They did not finish it, however, and when it was finally inherited by Charles I, Duke of Savoie, and his wife, Blanche de Montferrat, they had it finished in 1485 by Jean Colombe. The work of Colombe, though, is not as beautiful as that done by the two brothers.
This book disappeared from the Chateau Chantilly, but was found and brought back by the Duke d'Aumale in 1856.
The Pol brothers, who came from Limbourg, did perfectly beautiful work, particularly the blue in the sky. It is perhaps the most striking of anything I have ever seen. The illustrations depict the life of the Chateau and the people who lived in and around it. There is the shearing of the sheep, the bear hunt, the riding out for the first time in spring. Everybody, including the horses, is decorated in green, and a beautiful fresh green it is.
After going through the book, which was a rare experience indeed, we went through the rooms occupied by the Prince de Conde, a very powerful gentleman in his day, and then we went into the rooms where great treasures were kept.
Two Raphaels—one a little Madonna d' Orleans, which I always thought lovely, and the other a group of three girls—and the 40 miniatures by Fouquet, a little bigger than the illuminated pictures in the book, but very fine and delicate, were among the collection. One could have spent long hours taking in the details, so we chose our favorites and looked at them closely.
Then with kind thanks to the director and Mr. Hendrick and his wife, we drove out past the tremendous royal stables. We decided that these were probably good and sufficient reason for the Revolution. We caught a glimpse of the race course in the distance and then lunched in a delightful restaurant near the gate of entrance.
Our lunch was short so as to get me back in plenty of time for my afternoon engagement with the students of the American Students' Social Center. I felt sorry, for I realized the French host felt it was a crime not to enjoy his food in more leisurely fashion.
At the social center on the Boulevard Raspail, my granddaughter and her husband, who drove me out and back, patiently stayed for my speech and the questions that followed. I talked on Human Rights, for that usually seems a matter of interest to the young, and I found instead of cynicism, which I felt might well crop up, a sense of real interest. The students' interest in the United Nations is an encouragement, and it leads me to look more hopefully to the future.