Louise Astor <I>Van Alen</I> Saunderson

Louise Astor Van Alen Saunderson

Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 30 Dec 1997 (aged 87)
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered
Memorial ID 94050154 · View Source
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Louise Astor Van Alen Saunderson was a Santa Barbara socialite and heiress. Daughter of James L. Van Alen and Margaret Post. Wife of Alexander Saunderson, a famous British soldier and war prisoner. Growing up as a girl in Newport, at the family estate 'Wakehurst', she grew up around wealth. Known in Newport for her wit, charm and beauty, she regularly appeared every morning at Bailey's Beach for a swim. Much to the chagrin of her mother, Louise married to Prince Alexis Mdivani. Shortly after, however, the marriage ended in divorce. Next, in one of the biggest scandals in Newport, she married his brother Serge, who unfortunately died in a polo accident literally months after. While grieving in Newport, a friend introduced her to Alexander Saunderson, a British soldier and WWI prisoner. They quickly fell in love and married, moving to a wonderful little estate in Santa Barbara, known as 'the pillbox'. The couple split their time between there and a luxurious apartment in Paris. They traveled the world, mainly in the houseboat that had been a wedding gift from Mrs Van Alen. She developed a love for art and architecture, insisting that the gardens at 'the pillbox' be replicas of the famous gardens in Europe. An avid collector of vases, she had a large hall built connecting the main house and the greenhouse, the later and the hall which she turned into a vase gallery. A relatively quiet socialite, she was known for her marvelous tea parties, held in the especially built octagon breakfast room. Wanting to remember Europe when at 'the pillbox', she hired John Sander, a prominent English artist, to paint the walls of her master bedroom and turn them into murals of Venice. A lover of all animals, she and Alexander owned 12 dogs alone, all of which slept on or around their master bed . A kind and hospitable hostess, she often and very frequently hosted family events and reunions, the few guest bedrooms at 'the pillbox' being filled completely. Her moderate Van Alen fortune providing for their simple yet lavish way of life. A generous philanthropist, she often gave to charities as anonymous. Most of those who met her instantly liked her and she had a large and extensive group of friends.

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See more Saunderson memorials in:

  • Maintained by: Bobby Kelley
  • Originally Created by: John Astor
  • Added: 22 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 94050154
  • Bobby Kelley
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Louise Astor Van Alen Saunderson (10 May 1910–30 Dec 1997), Find A Grave Memorial no. 94050154, ; Maintained by Bobby Kelley (contributor 46959922) Cremated, Ashes scattered.