Remember this from a few days back?
Thursday, I found this:
You be the judge.
Remember this from a few days back?
Thursday, I found this:
You be the judge.
I have been told that I focus too much on southern plantations and that rich people have been building large houses in the northeast since the 17th century. And not just in Newport.
Back in October, I realized that the Yale Art Gallery exhibit of Rhode Island Furniture, Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, would be ending soon and I needed to make an effort to see it.
Searching around, I found cheap flight, a cheap hotel and a cheap rental car. Almost cheaper than staying home. Before I left, I finished my chores, the lawn, the laundry and the litter boxes. Early the next morning, I drove to the airport for a dawn flight to Boston.
This trip happened so quickly that I hadn’t really planned for much of anything. Yale was on the schedule for day two. It was day one. I was in a rental car and no clear idea of what I would be doing between 8:30 AM and bedtime. I pulled out the iPhone and started looking at some online resources.
I decided to visit Old Sturbridge Village in the afternoon. All I needed to do was find something fabulous en route. Three minutes later, I found a target and spent another two minutes trying to start the keyless car. I resolved that inconvenience set off for the Gore Place.
1804 to 1806, Governor/Senator Christopher Gore and his wife Rebecca built their mansion in Waltham, Mass for $24,000. In 1827, Christopher dies. In 1834, Rebecca dies. Having no heirs, the estate is auctioned and runs through traditional series of owner that presided of the inevitable decline. In 1921, The Waltham Country Club purchased the estate. They build a golf course and tennis courts on the grounds and use the mansion as a clubhouse. The Great Depression hastened the bankruptcy and failure of the country club in 1935.
The buildings fall into disrepair and are scheduled to be torn down to make room for new housing. A group of Bostonians with a view toward preservation raised money to buy the estate and formed the Gore Place Society.
Like other auctioned estates, the furniture is scattered by the auction. The Gore Place Society is faced with repopulating the mansion with appropriate furniture. What they did was to acquire Boston built furniture for much of it and track down and return the actual pieces when available.
This server is in the mansion:
This commode is of the estate:
To see all the pictures I have, click HERE.
I still have a few plantations left from my most recent family avoiding New Years trip to New Orleans. I will get to them but first I thought I would clear another from my backlog of fascinating places with furniture. I’m still sorting the glass negatives from my visit to the Titanic right before it sailed. Good stuff but I’m still working on the narrative.
I had work in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July of 2015. To save the company a few hundred in airfare, I offered to fly in and out of New Orleans and drive up in a rental car. I have a condition that requires me stop every so many miles and walk around for a few hours. It’s a burden I bear but such is life.
On the return to New Orleans the timer went off as I was approaching the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, St. James Parish. (Wikipedia article HERE.) Not wanting to risk my health, I stopped and wandered about for a bit. I even paid money and took a tour of the mansion.
First, about the name Oak Alley:
Not entirely, the oak alley was planted in 1710. The mansion was not built until 1837.
Oak Alley was built from 1837-39 by Jaques Roman on the grounds of his sugar plantation. It was built entirely with enslaved labor. Jacques Roman died in 1848 of tuberculosis and the estate was then managed by family. As seems to happen so often, the family lacked the skill, knowledge and discipline to manage the estate. when the patriarch dies, the family is not prepared to continue running the business. The Civil War and the end of slavery did not help the plantation’s fortunes. in 1866, the plantation was sold at auction.
Oak Alley then passed through a series owners as its condition deteriorated. In 1925 the property was acquired by Andrew Stewart as a gift to his wife, Josephine. She commissioned architect Richard Koch to supervise extensive restoration and modernize the house. When Josephine Stewart died in 1972, the grounds and mansion were left to the Oak Alley Foundation. Oak Alley was then opened to the public.
Based on the history of this mansion, you can feel certain that the furniture within is not original to the estate. The best you can hope is that the owner has assembled an interesting collection of period appropriate furniture and accessories.
Well, they did. Or so I think, but I’m no expert. One of the first things that caught my eye was this overhead fan in the dining room . It’s function was to circulate the air and the resident flies:
In the master bedroom was this rolling pin bed:
The claim was made that the rolling pin was used to smooth out and pack the stuffed mattress. The mattress was stuffed with Spanish moss and other available organic materials. Insects aside, the problem has that this material tended to bunch and not compress uniformly. They used the rolling pin as a daily fix for this problem.
I have seen many similar beds and this is the only bed about which the rolling pin claim is made. It is also the only bed I’ve seen that the rolling pin is not securely attached. I’m not saying that the rolling pin was not removable and used for leveling the mattress. I’m just saying that I’ve not found any independent corroboration.
Not that it really matters.
There was this very attractive office:
On the property, they have built six replica slave cabins. The cabins are furnished with period appropriate vernacular furniture. As troubling as I find the whole notion, I took pictures:
To see the entire set of mansion and slave cabin furniture pictures, click HERE.
Way to sell a blog, huh? Right up front, warning the reader that they might be facing fifteen minutes of their life they’ll never get back. If you’re smart, you’ll click-through to Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic blog. Today I hear she is covering when to use Alabaster, when Pure White may be a better choice and under what conditions Snowbound is right. Dover white was covered in a previous blog.
Today’s topic is Modern Designs from the Barcelona Museum of Design. This exhibit filled an entire floor of the aforementioned museum in the aforementioned city. From their opening placard:
From the World to the Museum
Product Design, Cultural Heritage
In almost everything we do throughout the day, we use one or more objects. If we want to sit down, we use a chair; to do laundry, we use a washing machine; to see each other, we turn on lights… These objects, which have a host of different designs and purposes, accompany us throughout our lives and show us how just as the world changes, so do objects.
How is it, then, that certain objects come to be a part of the Museum’s collection but not others? Each of the pieces on display is considered a representative sample of the design of its time, of the different material and technical contributions proposed by their designers, as well as of their sociocultural resonance.
Product design is one of our great forms of cultural heritage. After all, when we set our sights on Barcelona or Catalonia, now or a few years from now, we will only be able to understand how we lived if we if we know that objects we had by our sides, and some of them are now part of the Museum’s collection.
I thought it was a very interesting exhibit. The problem arose when trying to write the blog. It wasn’t all that different from the modern designs we are used to. Modernism seems to have transcended borders. (I always wanted to use transcended in a blog. Well, not always, but for a while.)
Does this chair scream Spain when you see it?
A quick story about this design. As a wee lad, I was drug to a store where my mother located one of these chairs in yellow fabric with black piping discounted because of a large scratch on the frame. She claimed the damaged chair and raced to back the stack to see if she could find another imperfect unit. Not finding another and lacking a tool to install a matching scratch, mother then started arguing with an assistant manager to discount a second chair because one chair just wouldn’t do. He relented, not because of her clear and remarkable logic but the belief it was worth the $10 to be rid of her, thus rewarding bad behavior.
I am still traumatized by the sight of these chairs.
This chair is also familiar:
And their motorcycle, like most motorcycles, has a wheel in the front, one in the rear connected to a centrally mounted engine by a chain, with a seat, handle bars and a tail light:
These chairs are all familiar:
Why does furniture of this era remind me of 1950’s Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons?
Of course, there is some unfamiliar furniture to be seen:
And this chair is among one of the most creative cross uses of technology I’ve seen:
The exhibit provides this explanation:
Another placard in the exhibit states:
If interested, you can see the entire photo set HERE.
This is George’s chamber pot:
George must be very proud of his chamber pot in that he took the time to inlay or have inlayed his name on the lid. George feels better knowing that it is indeed his chamber pot. Can you imagine George’s horror waking up in the middle of the night and using somebody else’s chamber pot. That must be why he put his name on it.
Or, I could be wrong. It could be this chamber pot was made by the George Chamber Pot Company of McKeesport, PA. Expensive way to display your company’s logo.
It could be the model name or style. You know, the George chamber pot.
Or maybe it was a retirement present. What better gift for your retiring 19th century executive than a monogrammed chamber pot?
Maybe he just doesn’t like to share…