by Edmund De Waal
22nd April 2021
'Consistently illuminating... considered, compassionate and appreciative... This book is a wonderful tribute to a family and to an idea' Guardian63 rue de Monceau, ParisDear friend, As you may have guessed by now, I am not in your house by accident.
I know your street rather well. Count Moise de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal's forebears, the Ephrussi, first encountered in his bestselling memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of belle epoque high society.
They were also targets of anti-semitism. Camondo created a spectacular house and filled it with the greatest private collection of French eighteenth-century art for his son to inherit. But when Nissim was killed in the First World War, it became a memorial and, on the Count's death, was bequeathed to France.
The Musee Nissim de Camondo has remained unchanged since 1936. Edmund de Waal explores the lavish rooms and detailed archives and uncovers new layers to the family story. In a haunting series of letters addressed to the Count, he tells us what happened next.
'Letters to Camondo immerses you in another age... de Waal creates a dazzling picture of what it means to live graciously' Financial Times'Subtle and thoughtful and nuanced and quiet. It is demanding but rewarding' The Times