The present owner of Houmas House has installed an art collection that takes visitors by surprise. Two of the most notable treasures are placed within inches of each other on a mantle in one of the living rooms. The gilded clock is said to have belonged to the estate of Marie Antoinette, and later purchased by Napoleon. Our guide told us that the painting just behind it is attributed to the French painter Eduard Manet. The woman in the painting is likely Manet’s niece. I bring the two treasures together by framing them in Christmas decorations. By shooting from the side and cropping into the frame itself, I allow the woman in the painting to look at us through the spray of drooping blossoms.