Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Pavilion San Rafael, Pasadena

For those of you living in the Los Angeles area, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Pavilion San Rafael and its lush gardens on Sunday, the 29th of April. This exceptional open house is organized through the Garden Conservancy; use the link to learn more and to acquire tickets, which will then give you complete directions to the property.

Above is our watercolor elevation of the pavilion, which today is a private residence but was originally built as a music pavilion in 1922 in a pure Italian High-Renaissance style for Raymond Gould, who made his fortune as the premier antiques dealer in Southern California in the teens and Roaring Twenties.

In 1914, Gould purchased 10 acres in Garvanza, also known as Highland Park, from the Campbell-Johnson family, the last owners of the 2500 acre Rancho San Rafael, which stretched from Pasadena and Highland Park to Glendale. The Campbell-Johnsons had built the Church of the Angels in 1899 just over the hill from the pavilion, modeled on a chapel in Dorking, Surrey. The church has wonderful Pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows (below) and should not be missed if you do head off to San Rafael for the afternoon.

Gould had planned to build a Louis XIII-style château on the property but in the end lived in a neighboring Italianate villa designed by Reginald Johnson. The estate and its gardens soon became celebrated and were published in the influential and best-selling Gardens in America (1932) (below) and California Gardens (1928).

A founding member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gould used the pavilion extensively, hosting cotillions, tea dances, concerts and debutante balls well into the Great Depression, when finally the financial burdens caught up with him and he retired from society. He and his sister lived on quietly at San Rafael until his death in 1945; his wake was held in the pavilion.

A Dupont heiress purchased the property from Gould's estate and lived there until her passing in 1957, when the estate was purchased by a developer who subdivided the grounds and drained the artificial lake that fronted the pavilion. The present owners have restored the pavilion and its surrounding gardens to their original glory. It is well worth the visit to see the only pure garden pavilion in the Pasadena area.


  1. I saw your work on another blog, Little Augury, and I just had to see more. Checked out your website, and absolutely love your work!!! it's so beautiful. I did some ink washes of the classical orders in college...remembering how hard that was, I just can't fathom how you make such beautiful intricate watercolors. Will put you on my blog list. Jennifer

  2. Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you very much for seeking us out and offering such a wonderful comment, we appreciate it greatly and are delighted to know that you enjoy our work so much! All our best