Sep
24
2014

Rejuvenating Boxwood at Green Animals

Rejuvenating Boxwood at Green AnimalsBOXWOOD. Perhaps no other shrub on the Preservation Society’s properties garners more inquiries from visitors than does boxwood. This is understandable since the lustrous, small-leaved evergreen shrub forms the backbone of The Elms sunken garden, Rosecliff’s Court d’Amour and Green Animals’ formal garden, among others. Along with Beech trees and blue hydrangeas, boxwood is a classic element of our Newport landscape. [More]
Aug
26
2014

Giovanni Boldini’s Ladies: The Beau Monde at Newport

Giovanni Boldini’s Ladies: The Beau Monde at NewportIn August 1902, Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia visited Newport, RI and left with the parting words: “I have never dreamed of such luxury as I have seen at Newport.” Among the elegant social leaders that he may have encountered during this brief Newport sojourn was undoubtedly Elizabeth Drexel Dahlgren Lehr of New York, Paris, and Newport. Mrs. Lehr, one of Newport’s wealthiest heiresses, was a young widow recently married to Harry Symes Lehr, the self-appointed jester/master of ceremonies of Newport/New York society. [More]
Aug
4
2014

New Clues Provide Insight to The Breakers Décor

New Clues Provide Insight to The Breakers DécorIn the absence of comprehensive archives devoted to the construction of the great Newport houses of the Gilded Age, much of what we know about the creation of their interiors is conjectural. This holds particularly true for the early efforts of architect and designer Ogden Codman (1863-1951), who in the period 1893-1897 was busily working on six local villas, not the least significant of which was the task of designing and decorating the second and third floor bedrooms of The Breakers (1893-1895) for Cornelius Vanderbilt II. [More]
May
19
2014

Reinventing the Colonial: The Charles Follen McKim Photographs

Reinventing the Colonial: The Charles Follen McKim PhotographsThis summer, the Isaac Bell House (1883) will be the site of an exhibit examining the early career of architect Charles Follen McKim and the impact of the Colonial Revival on his work. A joint effort of The Preservation Society of Newport County and the Newport Historical Society, the exhibition uses photographs from the Historical Society’s collection to explore themes related to McKim’s early commissions and the impact the Colonial Revival had on his career and his stylistic vocabulary. [More]
Apr
1
2014

What's Under the Microscope Today?

What's Under the Microscope Today?One of the most powerful tools we have for learning about the nature of materials and their history is the microscope. The Preservation Society of Newport County is fortunate to have a pretty good one: a Leica DMLM trinocular microscope equipped with darkfield objectives, and having the capability for viewing samples in transmitted visible light or reflected visible or ultraviolet light. [More]
Mar
4
2014

Meticulous Methodology: Collections Database and Inventory

Meticulous Methodology: Collections Database and InventoryImagine living in a mansion filled with Tiffany glass, paintings by Giovanni Boldini, and lavish gowns made by Charles Frederick Worth. Next, imagine owning multiple properties on Bellevue Avenue furnished in the same grand fashion. If you're currently thinking, "how could I even keep track of it all?", then welcome to the challenge The Preservation Society of Newport County's collections staff faces daily while managing objects throughout eleven properties as well as several storage facilities. [More]
Dec
18
2013

From the Collections: Change of Identity at Marble House

From the Collections: Change of Identity at Marble HouseIn the early 1890s, Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt acquired four French royal portraits in London and Paris to decorate their Versailles-inspired dining room at Marble House. The series included one of Louis XIV by Henri Testelin, originally purchased by the Vanderbilts as a work by Pierre Mignard, and a portrait of Louis XIV’s great-grandson Louis XV by Jean Baptiste Van Loo. The final two portraits were said by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont to represent the Duke and Duchess d’Orléans; the Duke was thought to have been painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud and the Duchess by Nicholas de Largillière. As we discovered, she was incorrect. [More]
Nov
13
2013

Katherine Warren: A Glimpse into the Life and Career of one of Newport’s Leading Preservation Advocates

Katherine Warren: A Glimpse into the Life and Career of one of Newport’s Leading Preservation AdvocatesWhile Katherine Warren’s role in the formation of the Preservation Society is her greatest legacy, her contributions to Newport extend beyond the organization. Katherine had a grand vision for the City’s future and worked to help the community achieve it by investing in historic preservation and the arts. [More]
Oct
11
2013

Conservation Report: Dining Room Chairs at Marble House

Conservation Report: Dining Room Chairs at Marble HouseIf you have spent any time in the opulent Vanderbilt summer cottage Marble House (1892), it will come as no surprise that the cost of the house was estimated by contemporary press to be in the neighborhood of 11 million dollars (some 286 million dollars today). More than half of the estimated construction cost was spent on marble, but some of the other interior appointments were equally extravagant. [More]
Sep
25
2013

Tracing the “Line of Beauty” through Hunter House

Tracing the “Line of Beauty” through Hunter HouseCaryne Eskridge is the 2013-14 Curatorial Fellow for The Preservation Society of Newport County. She earned a B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and her M.A. from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture in May 2013. Caryne began a one year fellowship in June 2013, focused on the architecture and collection of Hunter House (1748). [More]