Monday, December 12, 2011

'Vernon Court'

'Vernon Court', the Mrs. Richard A. Gambrill estate designed by Carrere & Hastings c. 1899 in Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Gambrill, née Anna Van Nest, was widowed in 1890 after her husband Richard, a prominent lawyer, died from pneumonia. Mrs. Gambrill chose Carrere & Hastings as her sister, Mrs. Giraud Foster, was employing the firm to design 'Bellefontaine' in Lenox, Mass. at the same time. Following Anna's death in 1928 the estate was inherited by her son and his wife, the daughter of C. Ledyard Blair, owner of 'Blairsden' in Peapack, N.J., another Carrere & Hastings designed estate. Today the house operates as the National Museum of American Illustration. Click HERE to see 'Vernon Court' on google earth and HERE on bing.

Photos from Architectural Review, 1908.


Lora said...

No doubt, Mr. Blair's daughter felt right at home in this abode.

Nice staircase!

Anonymous said...

The trellis work is outstanding!!!

archibuff said...

Aside from the many formal gardens lost over time, it also is sad to see the many wonderful arbors, trellis and ornamental structures which have not survived, such as here. Vernon Court is still elegance defined. Beautiful interiors and exterior proportions.

The Down East Dilettante said...

When Carrere & Hastings got it right, they got it very right (and it is interesting to see how the knock-off in Newton that you published last week pales in comparison). I share the sadness about the treillage.

The current landscape at this place borders on tacky---nasty little pavilion in the center between house and acqua swimming pool, etc---nothing like the beautiful one shown here. What makes this tacky landscaping interesting is that the owners are also embroiled in a dispute about a Maya Lin designed park renovation in downtown Newport that to my mind is quite fine. Sigh. It's been ever thus.

I share the previous commenters triste about the lost and decayed treillage.

Ramoniac said...

I am in the process of researching E.R. Thomas and his wife, who lived across Victoria Ave from Vernon Court in Stonacre from 1903 to 1912 or thereabouts, and came across this page.

As a Newporter, I can inform you that the current landscape was pretty much inherited by its present owners in its present arrangement (swimming pool, etc). It is to my understanding that the pool was installed by the people who owned the property in the early 1980s, and the original fountain was auctioned off when Vernon Court college went bankrupt in 74. While I am not a fan of the "pavillion", I believe you put things rather strongly.

As to the Maya Lin design, I don't know how an apparent enthusiast for Gilded Age history such as yourself (D.E. Dilettante) could not take issue with a park design in the heart of Newport whose distinguishing characteristic is the installation of faux foundations. Certainly, it does not make sense to equate permanent faux foundations in a public park in the heart of such an historical city with a sculpted outdoor architectural element in a privately administered art museum that can be removed like it's a heavy piece of lawn furniture.