De, Waal, Edmund

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    Count Moïse de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal’s forbears, the Ephrussi, first encountered in his bestselling memoir ‘The Hare with Amber Eyes’. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of Belle Époque high society. They were also targets of ugly 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 Musée Nissim de Camondo has remained unchanged since 1936. Edmund de Waal has explored this beautiful palace; the lavish rooms, exquisite objects and detailed archives. In a haunting series of letters, he writes to the Count, and gets to know the boy who journeyed from Constantinople and became a model French citizen, before all that was gained was torn away.