Famed Author Victoria Kastner is the 2023 Garden Tour Grand Marshal!

Photo credit: Vickie Garagliano

The Friends of Robinson Gardens are thrilled to honor Victoria Kastner, former historian of the Hearst Castle, as our Grand Marshal for the 2023 “Back in Bloom” Garden Tour. A spell-binding and fantastic speaker, she has generously given many talks at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Her most recent lecture was on her newest book, Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect.

Victoria said, “I’ve always been intrigued by historic buildings and the talented designers and clients who create them. I’ve written the definitive trilogy on the history of William Randolph Hearst’s grand estate at San Simeon: Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House, with a foreword by George Plimpton; Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land, and Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy, all published by Abrams Books. I’ve co-authored The Beverly Hills Hotel: The First 100 Years with Robert Anderson; and Daily Pleasures: The French Ceramic Collection of Mary Lou Boone for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I’ve also penned a chapter on Bernard Maybeck’s magnificent Palace of Fine Arts for Jewel City: The Art of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, an exhibition held at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.

I’m a lifelong fan of reading literature aloud—and I’ve written “Speaking Dickens” for London’s Counsel Magazine, to honor the world’s greatest author for pursuing this pastime. To further explore the intriguing lives of William Randolph Hearst and Julia Morgan, I’ve authored “William Randolph Hearst: America’s Maverick Collector” for Oxford University’s Journal of the History of Collections, and “Morgan and Associates: Julia Morgan’s Architectural Practice as Design Metaphor” for the AIA publication 20 on 20/20 Vision.

As a former commercial baker, I think nothing of whipping up a cake for fifty, and I always plan my menus by choosing the dessert first. I’ve sung all my life, performing with the San Luis Vocal Arts Ensemble for nearly twenty years (until I switched to the equally absorbing task of writing books). I still sing show tunes and play my Yamaha electric piano at local care homes. I’ve also recently begun researching the incomparable Fred Astaire, studying his musical compositions and his singing career, in addition to his masterly dances on film.

Writing the story of Julia Morgan’s inspiring life has proved to be the most fascinating subject of them all.”

Don’t miss Victoria’s book signing on Julia Morgan at Garden Tour! To read more about her, please visit her website here at https://victoriakastner.com/

  1. […] year, the Friends are proud to honor famed author and former historian of the Hearst Castle Victoria Kastner as the Grand Marshal. She will be signing her new book, Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the […]

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