So, we had a change of plans. Tomorrow will be the Boston Harbor Islands, today we decided to go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, which is notorious as being the scene of the world’s most expensive art heist in 1990 worth $500 million. The art has never been recovered.
But more interesting than that is the history of the woman for whom it is named. She was a socialite in Boston who was known for collecting vast amounts of expensive world class art at her Italian ornate mansion, a house she left in her will as a museum for the City of Boston to enjoy with the stipulation that nothing be changed in it after her death. So it’s still just as the old gal left it in 1924 or so.
She scandalized Boston in the 1800′s and early 1900′s with her wild ways, but she was rich as hell and had the best art collection in the city, so the conservative Boston Brahmins more or less put up with her eccentric ways, which appears to have included being one of Boston’s first fag hags.
According to Wikipedia, “The Boston society pages called her by many names, including “Belle,” “Donna Isabella,” “Isabella of Boston,” and “Mrs. Jack.” Gardner created much fodder for the gossip tabloids of the day with her reputation for stylish tastes and unconventional behavior. Her surprising appearance at a 1912 concert (at what was then a very formal Boston Symphony Orchestra) wearing a white headband emblazoned with “Oh, you Red Sox” was reported at the time to have “almost caused a panic”, and remains still in Boston one of the most talked about of her eccentricities.”
In short, the kind of iconoclast I love to love. She must have been great fun to be around.