"This must be what heaven is like," gushed Newport's Linda Daniels.
The tall, blond design professional was a guest at the Decorative Arts Society's cocktail reception hosted on Monday evening by Barbara and David Cline at their bayfront estate on the Balboa Peninsula.
Daniels joined DARTS patrons on the terrace overlooking the Clines' bayfront lawn and expansive dock on Newport Harbor, as the evening sky turned from cerulean blue to a rich magenta, fading into a starry night over water. It was magical and indeed a bit of heaven on earth.
The most recent DARTS reception, in a prestigious 2012 roster of distinguished visiting designers lecturing in Newport Beach, welcomed the erudite Harry Frost, collector, educator and curator of the Worcester Porcelain Museum, formerly known as the Dyson Perrins Museum.
Frost, who took the helm of the museum's collection in 1983, is considered a world-class authority on Worcester porcelain, as well as the entire realm of ceramics.
Frost shared with admirers attending his pre-lecture reception that his family, dating to 1680, had been potters. He began collecting old porcelain at the tender age of 10 or 11, and has since dedicated his life to this passion.
Frost trained with the design departments of Coalport and Josiah Wedgwood before joining Worcester. He holds a master's in ceramics and he was the first modeler in the United Kingdom to obtain such a degree.
Frost joined DARTS patrons in admiring the architecture, design and collections of the Clines' new and dramatically impressive California Mediterranean mansion. It sits on the site that once was part of the historic estate of Newport sailing champion William Bartholomae.
For those enchanted by local lore, this landmark property once was the setting for Bartholomae's 22-room, early-20th century seaside manor. The oil baron and Olympic sailor was murdered in his kitchen at the age of 70 in 1964.
The Clines purchased the spectacular property several years ago. They have created a warm and welcoming residence suited to their lifestyle as business leaders and community activists, and as parents of young adult children and their extended family and friends.
Spotted in the sunset cocktail crowd sampling the marvelously catered delicacies provided by Fork, Knife + Spoon were designers Randy Boyd, Ann Dennis and Marion Hartwig. The lovely Elana Donovan, chairwoman of DARTS, joined Lois and Dave Tingler, Sandra Ayres, Marilyn and Bill Robbins, Joy McGuinness, Carolyn Garrett, Linda Colton and Deutsche Bank's distinguished O.C. executive, Doug McCrea, and his charming bride, Melinda.
Also in the crowd was special guest Sara Jane Bartholomae Hartling, descendant of Bartholomae.
The Monday evening reception was followed Tuesday with Frost's lecture to a sold-out DARTS audience, and then a private thank-you luncheon for the world's "prince of porcelain" in the First Cabin dining room at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort.
THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach.