In 1880, J. Waldron Gillespie, the scion of a wealthy upstate New York family, started an architectural and horticultural revolution by transforming a prized parcel of land in what is now Montecito into a Persian and European Xanadu laden with cascading water gardens reputed to be the finest outside of Persia. To crown his pleasure gardens, he commissioned Bertram Goodhue, master of Medieval Gothic style, to create a columned villa to mirror a succession of pools linking the main home and lower casino. Ornamented with a bas-relief frieze depicting the Knights of the Round Table, and shining anew, his dazzling masterpiece reaches a crescendo in a celestial conversation room with an 18-foot-high gold-leaf dome. Another triumph is the formal banquet room. Rising to a barrel-vaulted ceiling that was handpainted by Henry Wadsworth Moore to depict Alexander’s conquest of Persepolis, the palatial setting captures to perfection Gillespie’s vision for El Fureidis.