Palm Beach Society

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Entering into its sixth year of existence, American Friends of British Art has already become internationally recognized amongst cultural and philanthropic circles. With its primary mission to raise funds for historic preservation in the United Kingdom, an increasing number of Americans are learning of the need for international assistance to save art-in-peril in Great Britain. Under the guidance of its founder and President, Dr. Michael Ridgdill, the organization quick gained its 501 ©3 status as a charity, launched a website, and has formed a notable board of directors. With support and backing of such individuals as the British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British Consul-General in Miami, and members of Britain’s titled nobility, American Friends of British Art has quickly achieved international respect.

A clinical psychologist and adjunct professor at Barry University, Dr. Ridgdill founded the charity in 2009 after learning of the need for international assistance in saving Britain’s historic treasures. Though unpaid for his work as the charity’s President and Executive Director, Dr. Ridgdill was honored in 2009 when he was decorated with The Most Venerable Order of St. John by Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his longtime support of British charities. With strong Anglo ties, Dr. Ridgdill’s English cousin, Lord Charles Townshend, serves as the charity’s Patron and provides valuable direction and advocacy.

Hosting only two or three intimate fundraising events each year, American Friends of British Art has already raised funds substantial enough to make grants toward the restoration of an historic English church, and two import paintings in a Scottish museum. Operating without any paid of compensated employees, the charity makes the most of every donation received.

February 5, 2009, will feature the charity’s next fundraising event to be held at the luxurious Palm Beach showroom of noted interior designer William R. Eubanks. The event themed, L’Indochine, will feature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres amidst a French-colonial fantasy of chinoiseries, paintings and exotic porcelain. Event Chair William Eubanks will be teaming up with Co-Chair, The Honorable Keith Allan, who serves as Her Majesty’s Consul-General in Miami, to raise funds for American Friends of British Art at this exclusive reception. A donation of $100 is requested and those interested in obtaining an invitation may contact the showroom at 561-805-9335.



Over the years we have become spoiled by having one of America’s most popular interior designer being based here in Palm Beach. William R Eubank’s name I s synonymous with refined, classic interior design. At the mention of his name, one envisions comfortable, but timeless, decoration of sumptuous silk and damask fabrics, as well as period antiques from Europe. Bill’s clients all agree that he has extraordinary talent, he listens to what his clients want and them he translates it into a reality.

In this project, we are featuring his clients Helen and Bill Benton’s beautiful home in Sea Island, Georgia. The told Bill and Vice President, Mitch Brown, that they wanted to use the natural beauty of the setting as the inspiration for the interior of their house. The property is divinely set on the edge of luminous salt marshes and surrounded by water, grasses and hedges on three sides. Eubanks took his inspiration from the spectacular landscape as the setting is quite breathtaking. They took extra care with the finishes and textures, as the lines of the home are simple. All around the house you will see the use of materials including ebony, parchment, stone and wood. Mirrors are used throughout the house as they reflect the natural beauty from outside within.

Eubanks was born in Tennessee and has a true passion for “the art of living” with his keen eye and a practical historical knowledge, he able to mix a wonderful array of different textured fabrics and furniture with rare antiques. He received a Bachelor of fine Art degree in Interior Design from the University of Memphis and was designing homes and apartments before he even graduated. Mr. Eubanks formally founded his interior design firm in Memphis in 1976 and was quickly recognized as a master of graceful living. Once the years he has received many awards and recognition for his work and he is published frequently in all of the Interior publications.

Bill and Mitch both agree, that a home should not only be beautiful and elegant but also reflect the people living there. They create rooms that are comfortable, livable and timeless. As Eubanks told us at Scene, “I have always been very fortunate in having the most wonderful clients who have all become friends over the years. If I have had to have a motto, it would be that good design is like good bone structure, a wonderful foundation on which to build.”