Thoughts <br> that make you think

that make you think

Boy Capel's Notebook

Arthur Capel called «Boy» (1881-1919), an English self-made-man, businessman and polo champion occupied a very central place in Gabrielle Chanel’s life. Both flamboyant and irresistible, Boy seduced Gabrielle as much as she did him. Their affair began around 1908 and lasted until the early 1910s, in spite of Capel being already married. It inspired Paul Morand for his book Lewis and Irene in which the two protagonists bear certain resemblances to Boy and Gabrielle, and this fact is confirmed by the author’s dedication in a copy of this book included in this exhibition.

First great love, both unforgettable and initiatory, Boy was passionate about literature and influenced Gabrielle Chanel into becoming a devoted reader. In a notebook intended for her, exhibited here for the first time, he recorded notes from his readings. The two lovers shared an interest in esotericism, and he introduced her to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the fundamental texts of Hinduism. On leaving Gabrielle Chanel in Paris to join his wife on the Riviera for the Christmas of 1919, he was killed at the wheel of his automobile on December 22nd. Plunged into grief, Gabrielle sought refuge in silence, and immersed herself in the books Boy had introduced her to and also the ones that had belonged to him found tucked into the shelves of her library like precious relics.

In his notebook he had written: «Thoughts that make you think. It is pleasant to forget oneself in following the imagination of another but better still to think out things oneself».