Monday, September 26, 2011

St. Bernard de Clairvaux

The bell at the entrance to the chapel.
Photo by John J. Tackett for The Devoted Classicist blog.
Recently, The Devoted Classicist enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Miami area Episcopal church, St. Bernard de Clairvaux, in some terms the oldest church in the United States.  The building of the Monastery began in Sacramento, Spain, in 1133 and was completed in 1141.  Originally, the Monastery was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was named "The Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels."  But when the Cistercian monk Bernard of Clairvaux was canonized, the Monastery was renamed in his honor.  Cistercian monks occupied the Monastery until the revolution in the 1830s, when the cloisters were seized and sold to be used as a granary and a stable.
The Cloister of St. Bernard de Clairvaux.
Photo by John J. Tackett for The Devoted Classicist blog.
William Randolph Hearst bought the Cloisters and Monastery in 1925.  The buildings were dismantled stone by stone and packed in hay for protection in 11,000 crates numbered for identification.  But on arrival in the U.S., there was fear of a possible contagion of hoof and mouth disease and the crates were quarantined, broken open, and the hay burned.  The stones were re-crated, but with no attention to the identification and sent to Hearst's warehouse.
A view down a gallery from the chapel towards the main entrance.
Photo by John J. Tackett for The Devoted Classicist blog.
Hearst had financial problems soon after this which forced much of his collection to be sold at auction.  These crates remained in the warehouse until 1953, however, when more contents were sold in 1953 after Hearst's death.  W. Edgemon and R. Moss bought the stones to reconstruct the Cloisters as a tourist attraction in the Miami, Florida, area.  After 19 months and almost $1.5 million (reportedly 12 million in today's dollars), it was named "the world's biggest jigsaw puzzle" by Time magazine.
The garden at the entrance to St. Bernard de Clairvaux.
Photo by John J. Tackett for The Devoted Classicist blog.
When financial difficulties caused the Cloisters to be put up for sale in 1964, Bishop Henry Louttit bought it on behalf of the Diocese of South Florida.  But when there were financial difficulties after the reorganization into the three dioceses of Central, Southeast, and Southwest Florida, Col. Robert Pentland, Jr., a philanthropist and benefactor of many Episcopal churches, purchased the Cloisters for the parish.  Today, the church of St. Bernard de Clairvaux is an active, culturally diverse Episcopal congregation in the diocese.  Also it is open for tours as well as being a popular site for weddings and quinceaneras (the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guigne Court and Anthony Hail

The interior of the Pavilion at Guigne Court, the residence of Eleanor and Christian de Guigne, 3rd,
as decorated by Anthony Hail.  The Devoted Classicist agrees with the designer's reluctance to call it the Poolhouse.
Photo from ID&D '66 edited by Jacqueline Inchbald, 1965.
One of the most celebrated estates in the San Francisco area is Guigne Court, a secluded mansion on 47 acres in Hillsborough near the border of the city of San Mateo.  The house was built in 1918 (or some sources say 1913) as a wedding present for Christian de Guigne, 2nd, and his bride from the groom's father.  The first Christian de Guigne, who founded what became the Leslie Salt Company (the world's largest solar evaporation plant for the production of salt) and the Stauffer Chemical Company (which manufactured herbicides for corn and rice), had married the eldest daughter of millionaire Gold Rush banker John Parrott in 1879, starting the dynasty.
The Pavilion at the residence of Eleanor and Christian de Guigne, 3rd,
as decorated by Anthony Hail.
Photo from ID&D '66 edited by Jacqueline Inchbald.
These photos from the early 1960s date from the occupancy by Christian de Guigne, 3rd, and his wife Eleanor, who married in 1935.  Often referred to as Madame de Guigne, she was a regular customer in the top couture houses in Paris and was elected to the Fashion Hall of Fame in 1981.  On her death in 1983, Madame's archival wardrobe was bequeathed to The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
The Entrance Hall of the residence of Eleanor and Christian de Guigne, 3rd,
 as decorated by Anthony Hail.
Photo from ID&D '66 edited by Jacqueline Inchbald.
The estate's current occupant, Christian de Guigne, 4th, married Vaughn in 1984, when the groom was 47 and the bride 30.  They lived an opulent lifestyle on the estate he inherited with a staff that included two housekeepers, three gardeners, a laundress, a chef, a child-care provider, and a part-time chauffer until their separation in 1996.  The 2002 divorce papers stated that neither partner worked during the marriage and that the expenses to run the house were $450,000 annually despite an income from trusts of $240,000.  In a landmark case to settle the divorce, the court called for the subdivision of the 47 acre estate to raise cash for a spousal settlement.  Neighboring property owners objected, however, and the estate is still not subdivided, according to the Burlingame Historical Society.
A portion of the Living Room of the residence of Eleanor and Christian de Guigne, 3rd,
as decorated by Anthony Hail.
Photo from ID&D '66 edited by Jacqueline Inchbald.
The interesting fact of these approximately 50 year old images is the staying power of the classic interior design by Anthony Hail.  After an early childhood in Tennessee, his mother remarried and he grew up in Denmark.  Anthony Hail studied design and decoration in England while he worked as a Conde Nast correspondent for Maison et Jardin, British Vogue, and British House & Garden magazines.  After attending the Harvard Graduate School of Design during the leadership of modernist Walter Gropius, he was assistant to Edward Wormley, chief designer for the Dunbar Furniture Company.  He also listed the restoration of the White House on his professional c.v.  Anthony Hail started his own practice in San Francisco in 1957 and quickly became in demand by the Society leaders such as the Gettys and the Thierots in addition to the de Guignes.  He also served as design consultant for several San Francisco museums.  His talent was also appreciated in Southern California where he decorated the home of film and television actor James Garner.  Working from his California Street residence, which had been renovated by William Randolph Hearst's architect Julia Morgan, he also had projects in New York City and elsewhere.  Anthony Hail died in 2006 at age 81.
Anthony Hail, right, with Andy Warhol, 1981.
Photo by Steve Ringman for the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Devoted Classicist was happy to have met him while he was decorating the apartment directly below the project at One Sutton Place South.  Seeing his work in publications like Architectural Digest during the 70s and 80s, I was a big fan.  I had lived in Nashville for a couple of years in the late 70s and often passed his family's abandoned farm on the road to Franklin.  Unfortunately, it had been bisected by Interstate 65 and the house had been demolished, but the extraordinary mid-19th century barn remained in near ruin but clearly visible from the highway.  And later, I saw another apartment at One Sutton Place South and the house on a horse farm near Nashville that had been decorated by Anthony Hail for the parents of another of my clients.  (He also decorated their Southampton house).  His own quote in Interior Design magazine profile said it best, describing his style as "an intuitive fusion of quality, workmanship, architectural details of the highest quality, furniture, paintings and accessories in which soft colors highlight the furniture."

More about Anthony Hail can be found at The Peak of Chic and The Blue Remembered Hills blogs and in two books by another fellow blogger Diane Dorrans Saeks, SAN FRANCISCO INTERIORS and SAN FRANCISCO - A CERTAIN STYLE.  These four photos of Guigne Court are from ID&D '66, INTERIOR DESIGN AND DECORATION edited by Jacqueline Inchbald, 1965.  All three books are available here.

To see more photos of Guigne Court and details of the estate for sale, see the February, 2013,  post of The Devoted Classicist here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah Pottery

Image of Walter B. Stephen pottery courtesy of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Walter B. Stephen, 1876-1961, was a remarkable artist with no formal training who became an imaginative and gifted potter.  First with slip-painted pots made from Nonconnah Creek clay in the then-rural area outside Memphis, Tennessee, and then with more variety of forms and glazes he developed after moving to the hills near Asheville, North Carolina.  Stephen's work spanned Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau to the Moderne era.  His decorative schemes were widely diverse, ranging from memories of his young life on the Nebraska frontier, Bible references, and Asian art.  Also, themes with Mayan and Egyptian motifs as well as Wedgwood influences were explored.

Image of Walter B. Stephen pottery courtesy of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
 More than 70 rare examples of Walter B. Stephen's pottery are currently featured in the exhibition Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah Pottery on view through November 13, 2011, at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, sponsored in part by Decorative Arts Trust.  There will be a lecture by master ceramist and American pottery expert Rodney Henderson Leftwich on Saturday, September 24, 20011.  The presentation which will discuss the life and work of Walter B. Stephen will be held at 10:30 am in the museum's auditorium, free to the public.

Dr. Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Arts, at the entrance to the exhibit.
Photo by John J. Tackett for The Devoted Classicist.
"I am fascinated that we have an exhibition by a largely undiscovered and incredibly innovative art potter who began working in Shelby County around 1900," says exhibition organizer Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Art at the Brooks.  "Stephen is a little idiosyncratic and very much an individualist, and at the same time. he's part of the larger Arts & Crafts movement, when artists were getting away from mechanization and focusing on the handmade."

Mr. Leftwich's book Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen is available for purchase in the museum's gift shop and here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Decorative Arts Trust

Sketch by John J. Tackett for Decorative Arts Trust.
All rights reserved.
Decorative Arts Trust, a support group for Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, is extending invitations to join its membership with a special offer.  In addition to donating objects for the museum's collection, D.A.T. has an educational program featuring the decorative arts that is remarkable for its mid-America location. See the Decorative Arts Trust website for more information.  (Sorry, but it is Flash driven, so the information is not viewable on an iPhone).  New members will be invited to a reception on September 22, 2011, at the home pictured in my sketch above.  The house was designed by Jackson, Mississippi, architect Lewis Graeber and has just received a complete decoration by Alabama-born Manhattan interior designer Richard Keith Langham.  The Devoted Classicist, as John J. Tackett, is entering his third term as President of the Board of Directors and can vouch for the many worthwhile activities as well as the many interesting members, now numbering about 400.  So those in the Memphis area, in particular, are encouraged to take a look at the website to see the lectures planned for the coming year, as many are open to the public.
Readers of The Devoted Classicist are reminded that full enjoyment of the blog can only be appreciated at the site  The only other authorized sources are the FOLLOW BY EMAIL feature which delivers either a mobile version lacking all the auxiliary elements or a desk/laptop version which includes advertising.  At present there is no other authorized publication of the blog, through Facebook or any other media.  So, it is hoped that readers will bookmark the original site and check in every few days for new posts.  Your readership is appreciated!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Best of the Web

The Devoted Classicist is happy to accept the award from Be @ home, linked here, which features trends in home decor, do-it-yourself projects, and interior design, as part of their highlighting blogs with Best of the Web recognition.  The Blogosphere is indeed a huge one, and The Devoted Classicist is happy to be part of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Sutton Place South

A view from the Entry Vestibule to the Gallery Foyer and Dining Room beyond of an apartment at One Sutton Place South, Manhattan, with improvements by John Tackett Design.
Photo by Jaime Ardiles-Arce for Architectural Digest.
 It is always satisfying to see good architecture hold its value, and that is certainly the case with an apartment in a Manhattan building designed by architect Rosario Candela, 1890-1953.  Although some of Candela's commissions were for middle-class buildings, he is now best remembered for his grand apartments that are among the most expensive and sought-after today.  No. 1 Sutton Place South was designed by Candela in association with Cross & Cross for Henry Phipps Estates and completed in 1926.

A vintage view of One Sutton Place South, Manhattan.
Photo by Wurts Brothers, collection of the Museum of the City of New York.
 The brick, free-standing, apartment building is handsomely embellished with limestone detailing.  But the most distinctive exterior feature is a colossal arched, inset porte cochere entrance that allows autos to pull right up to the front door, eliminating the need to cross the sidewalk.  For many security-conscious residents, this is a valuable feature.
A vintage view of the entrance to One Sutton Place South, Manhattan.
Photo by Wurt Brothers, collection of the Museum of the City of New York.
An original feature was a garden overlooking the East River, with an indoor tennis court underneath and a private dock for yachts.  These features were destroyed when the FDR Drive was constructed along the river, but a garden was rebuilt in 1939 on top of a deck covering the drive, with a fifty year lease to the building at $1 per year.  Although the occupants of the building generally avoid publicity, the plans by city and state agencies to retake the garden and build a quarter-acre public park were met with public legal resistance.  After several years of litigation, reports in February, 2011, announced a resolution was near, but The Devoted Classicist has not been able to learn if there has been an outcome of the $10 million compensation lawsuit.  (The residents have agreed not to comment on any part of the issue).
A typical floor plan of One Sutton Place South, Manhattan.
Image from THE NEW YORK APARTMENT HOUSES OF ROSARIO CANDELA AND JAMES CARPENTER by Andrew Alpern, Acanthus Press, New York City, 2001.
In the original plan, there were 33 apartments of 12 or 13 rooms, both simplex (one floor) and duplex (two floors).  When all but crucial construction stopped during World War II and the demand for housing was critical, several apartments were subdivided in 1941 and a few since that date.  However, the co-op board no longer allows subdivision.  The apartment improved by John Tackett Design is in the "A" line, although the floor plan is altered slightly from the typical floor shown in the image above.

A view from the Gallery Foyer in the Library (shown on the original floor plan as a bedroom).
Photo by Jaime Ardiles-Arce for Architectural Digest.
The clients' former Central Park West apartment had been decorated by Tom Britt for the Mister and his wife during a previous marriage.  Those furnishings were re-installed in this apartment but the new Lady of the House soon set about changing it to her liking and Britt was no longer actively involved by the time of the John Tackett Design improvements although some decorating vestiges remained.  The scope of work for the Foyer involved adding architectural interest while preserving the marbleized painted walls.  The addition of mouldings to create a paneled effect provided a route for electrical conduit to be channeled into the masonry walls for sconces on each wall, requiring only the minimum of touch-ups.  The existing steel jambs were kept but embellished and pedimented overdoors were added to frame the new mahogany doors.  A new plaster cornice was added here and in some other rooms as well.
The Dining Room (shown on the original floor plan as the Living Room) with the sideboard similar to ones in the White House.
Photo by Jaime Ardiles-Arce for Architectural Digest.
In the Dining Room, the curtains visible in the first photo were destroyed in an accident, leading to the new design by John Tackett that was featured in the March 8, 2011, post of The Devoted Classicist.  The sideboard was said to be designed by Stanford White for The White House.  Similarites to those in the State Dining Room can be seen in the image below, painted white and gold by Stephane Boudin of Jansen for his decorating scheme for the Kennedys. 

The State Dining Room of the White House as decorated by Stephane Boudin of Jansen.
Photo from the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library.
The plaster cornices for the apartment improvements were provided by Hyde Park Mouldings, but all the doors and millwork were custom made to the specifications of John Tackett Design and executed by the general contractor I. Grace Company.

The color photographs of the apartment are from the magazine Architectural Digest with subscriptions available here.   More about the architect Rosario Candela can be read in THE NEW YORK APARTMENT HOUSES OF ROSARIO CANDELA AND JAMES CARPENTER by Andrew Alpern, Acanthus Press, NYC, 2001, available here.  The White House image is from DREAM HOUSE, THE WHITE HOUSE AS AN AMERICAN HOME by Ulysses Grant Dietz and Sam Watters, Acanthus Press, NYC, 2009, available here.  More about the decoration of the Kennedy White House can be learned through DESIGNING CAMELOT;  THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE RESTORATION and JANSEN, both by James Archer Abbott available here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Follower Appreciation Gift

In grateful appreciation to loyal Followers of The Devoted Classicist blog, a Give-Away drawing will be held next week with the gift being a pair of limited edition prints.  In the process of considering reproduction of some of the original pen-and-ink drawings by John J. Tackett, some prints were made to study size and color.  While these prints are not of the quality of an 18th century engraving, they do have a decorative quality and are signed in pencil and the very, very limited number is indicated.  This pair of prints in the following two images, without the blue watermark lettering of course, will be prize.
Each print would fit into a standard 8" x 10" frame, or larger if matted.  But to enable easy mailing, the prints are neither matted nor framed, so Followers from other countries are also eligible for the drawing. For customs and/or tax reasons, the value of the envelope will be declared as $0 as there will be no comparable prints ever available for sale.
The only qualification to enter the drawing is to be listed as an official Follower in the sidebar at the right. The order of Follower registration is divided into two parts with those having an image and those who do not, so scroll through to verify status.  Those wanting to become a Follower can sign up any time prior to the close of the drawing, Monday, September 19, 2011, at noon Central time;  click on JOIN THIS SITE.  To enter the drawing, Followers can just leave a comment and the pair of prints will be awarded based on a number drawn to correspond with the order of the entry.  Make sure your comment is shown with the same name as your registration as a Follower;  use the name/url option in leaving a comment if necessary to make the identification match.  If you are reading this from the Follow-By-Email version, please be advised that you are not necessarily registered as a Follower and should go directly to the blog site  to verify status and enter the drawing.  The winner will be revealed in a blog post and asked to send a mailing address to receive the prize.  Thanks to all who are regular readers of this blog, The Devoted Classicist.

New readers will want to visit the selection of books on architecture, interior design, and all the decorative arts available for purchase through The Devoted Classicist Library, in affiliation with Amazon.  For books that were especially selected in conjunction with the Central Gardens Home and Garden Tour, see the Historic District category here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Central Gardens Home Tour

1785 Harbert Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
The Devoted Classicist has been a volunteer committee member for a historic district in Memphis, Tennessee, that holds a Home & Garden Tour each year as a fund-raiser for its many worthwhile activities.  In fact, this is the 35th year for the annual tour which often draws a couple of thousand visitors each second Sunday in September.  The tour is the most organized, well-run, all-volunteer function that one could imagine, and it has been a pleasure to work with this group for several years in a row, now.  Along with truly exceptional neighborhood historian Marsha Hayes, I write the guidebook.  There are usually a half dozen homes on the tour, representative of the mostly early twentieth century houses that make up the wonderfully liveable neighborhood, and this year is no exception.  None of the six houses have ever been on the tour before, and the construction dates range from 1910 to 1925.

1743 Harbert Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
This year's tour is Sunday, September 11, 2011, from 1 pm to 6 pm, with $15 tickets available at any house on the tour.  For more information, see the Central Gardens Association website.
Also, a wonderful newspaper article about this year's tour written by Central Gardens resident James H. Roper appears in today's Memphis Commercial Appeal.

A special selection of books that would be of interest to residents and visitors to the Central Gardens Historic Conservation District are available for purchase through The Devoted Classicist Library .  Many of the books would be of interest to early 20th century historic districts, in general, and owners of Arts & Crafts, Craftsman, European Eclectic, and Colonial Revival houses as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nonesuch House, Smaller Version

A Detail of the Preliminary Design for Nonesuch House by John Tackett Design.
 The owner of Nonesuch House, a new residence designed by John J. Tackett, originally wanted it to be built of stone with a slate roof.  The change to handmade brick and a standing seam copper roof is a story that would not be of interest to the readers of The Devoted Classicist, nor would the reasoning behind the increase from 5,000 to 8,500 square feet.  (Well, they might find it interesting as the process of home building, but it is too personal for this public venue).  However, it is thought that this preliminary scheme, smaller than the final version, would be of some interest.  The previous post showed the initial presentation of the proposed house in a bird's eye view.  This preliminary design, a quick 1/8" scale free-hand series of drawings showing all the floor plans and exterior elevations, was prepared for approval before commencing the construction drawings.  As the plan was beginning to be developed, I added a shallow vestibule at the main entrance (to be changed in the construction drawings for the larger house to a projecting pavilion with an entrance porch) and a fireplace at the end of the Living Room which occupied the angled wing on the left, a match to a Guest Bedroom not seen on the right.  (The fireplace was located on the long rear wall of the Living Room in the final plan, not visible in the photo of the previous post).
The Rear of Nonesuch House, a new residence by John Tackett Design, as shown in a preliminary drawing for approval.
Another hallmark of new houses by John Tackett Design is that all exterior elevations have architectural significance.  In this case, a wild forest immediately beyond the house prevents any long distance view of the exterior faces of the house, but it would still be seen up close.  While the functions of the interior were given preference over exterior symmetry here, the rear of the house held its own, none the less.  (In the larger scheme, the Master Bedroom occupies a whole final wing of the house above a screened outdoor living room with a fireplace).

A proposal for a latticed terrace above the service court at Nonesuch House by John Tackett Design.
In the previous post showing the service court on the north side of the house, a long narrow terrace tops the covered entrance to the double garage.  French doors lined a passage outside the Dining Room and I had originally feared that service vehicles might be in view in the court below, so I proposed a lattice screen for that terrace.  This lattice also shows in my exterior sketch of the area in the September 6, 2011, post.  As soon as the framing went up, however, it was realized that these concerns over sight lines were unfounded and the lattice was not needed.

Many have commented that the preliminary designs for my new houses and renovations are as interesting as the final schemes, so it is hoped that readers of The Devoted Classicist also find this to be the case.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nonesuch House

The initial proposal for Nonesuch House, a new residence in Nashville, Tennessee,
 by John Tackett Design.
Several years ago, John Tackett Design was commissioned to design a new house in Nashville, Tennessee, for a single woman moving back to the city of her birth after living abroad for some time.  The client had purchased a 1970s contemporary house with an indoor swimming pool solely for the lot;  although the house was designed by one of Nashville's leading architects, it was one of the ugliest and poorest designed houses imaginable.  My interview for the commission was held at the house shortly before it was demolished so I could see the site, a forested hilltop with no neighbors within view.  A steep drive scissored up the hill, building anticipation, only to be confronted with the face of the garage at the end of the long, narrow house.  To the side, the front door and kitchen door were adjacent and only slightly varying in design importance.  Inside, it only got worse.  The client had definite ideas of what room was to go where on the limited building site to maximize the light and views at specific times of day, and wanted a formal yet somewhat casual design that had a strong French influence. 

A new Gatehouse that also provides lodging for a caretaker matches the architectural details and materials of the main house.
I love a challenge, and came up with the design shown in the ariel view of the leading sketch of this post that was immediately accepted.  The scope changed a bit along the process and grew from 5,000 square feet to 8,500 (which is another story in itself).  The house, designed to be light and airy since privacy was not an issue, ended up being decorated as a dark, introspective retreat.  Although intended to be comfortable for the single occupant, it was also to be able to accomodate 200 for cocktails.  The client did not want an ostentatious house, so only a portion of the house is visible on entry into the courtyard and the rest of the house is not revealed until the visitor progresses through the sequence of interior spaces.  Because of the restrictions of the site, the full size of the house is apparent only from the Service Entrance, not visible by the typical guests.  The heavily forested site makes photography difficult, but the house was featured in a creatively written chapter (with the owner's name changed) in the book A House in the South with those photographs reproduced here.
John Tackett Design's sketch for the service entrance to Nonesuch House, Nashville.
Since this side of the house is viewed by the owner on a daily basis, it was given architectural interest.
To down-play the formality of the house, the stairs were relatively modest and located in a hallway adjacent to the Entrance Hall, an octagon with mirrored doors that opened to closets and a passage to the service area.  All of the floors, including the Kitchen, were made of salvaged wood planks except for the bathrooms and the Stair Hall which was a last minute change to stone tile by the client's best friend/decorator.
The Stair Hall with the Entrance Hall beyond.
The canape was relocated for the photo.
The Living Room was located in the southern angled wing that faced the courtyard on the east, and terrraces of the south and west to maximize the light and views.

The Living Room of Nonesuch House features light-absorbing upholstered walls.
The Dining Room occupies the core of the house, flanked by galleries along both long sides, accessed by arched pocket doors glazed with mirrored Restoration Glass.

The Dining Room walls are upholstered in fushia silk.  The white cabinet is from the owner's previous residence in London.
Although the house is equipped with an elevator, there is a downstairs Guest Bedroom suite that could serve as a Master if desired.  The other Guest Rooms each have a gracious dressing room and private bath as well.
The Gatehouse can be viewed from a second story Guest Bedroom suite.
The Master Suite is an architecturally distinctive arrangement with His and Her accomodations.  Following the principle that a bathroom is just another room in the house, but happens to have plumbing fixtures, Her Master Bathroom has an antique marble Louis XVI chimneypiece, one of three sourced in Europe by my colleague Hector Alexander. 
The bathroom for the lady of the house features a gas-ignition wood burning fireplace.
The house is constructed of new handmade bricks, custom made to approximate the color of clay consistency in the Nashville area.  The windows, doors, and decorative hardware are all custom made as well to the specifications of John Tackett Design.  The roof is standing seam copper.
A portion of the service entrance to Nonesuch House, a new residence by John J. Tackett.
The fiberglass sculpture is a reference to a part of the owner's real estate investment portfolio, the land and buildings of a chain of restaurants.  More about this new house will be featured in future posts of The Devoted Classicst.

All the color photos are reproduced from the 2005 book by Frances Schultz and Paula S. Wallace, A HOUSE IN THE SOUTH;  OLD FASHIONED GRACIOUSNESS FOR NEW-FASHIONED TIMES available for purchase through The Devoted Classicist Library.

Monday, September 5, 2011

La Fiorentina Furnishings, Part II

As the fourth consectutive post with the common link of decorating legend Billy Baldwin, The Devoted Classicist continues with a presentation of the furnishings of the Cap Ferrat villa La Fiorentina.  Rebuilt and furnished by Roderick "Rory" Cameron and his mother Enid, Lady Kenmare, following World War II, the notable home was sold to Mary Wells and Harding Lawrence in 1970 with the Billy Baldwin interiors incorporating some of the Cameron-Kenmare decoration and furnishings.  Following the 1999 sale of the furnished villa, the interior was gutted and the furnishings sold at a celebrated 2001 auction at Sotheby's New York.  The following are selections from the catalog, Sale 7638, with the prices being the Hammer Price plus the Buyer's Premium.
A marble sculpture by Andrea Cascella, 1920-1990, UNTITLED, in three parts, 24.25" high, $10,800.

A brown lacquer center table top, now without a base. 5 ft by 30.5 in, $1,080.
The Front Hall has walls that appear to be painted to resemble marble.  No detailed photo is given for the Regency style tole peinte and glass hurricane lamp, but it is listed in the catalog, with a height of 30 inches and sold for $2,160.
A Louis XV style marble and composition console, 33.5" high, 7ft 3in wide, 23.5in deep.  $69,750.
A marble bust of Cardinal Fesch, 19th century, attributed to the workshop of Antonio Canova (1757-1822), 29" high, $21,450.

A Louis XV style rusted bronze cut-glass eight light chandelier, 5ft 3in by 42 in.  It appears that some of the crystal drops are missing in the catalog image, but note the bell-like covers for the concealed lights within the cage. $9,000.

The Master of the Liverpool Madonna (the name given to the anonymous painter active in Rome during the late 1490s), THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN, 62.5" by 45.5", $64,000.

The Dining Room as it appeared with the Billy Baldwin decoration for the Lawrences.  The Devoted Classicist does not think the white curtains were a successful treatment in this case, and was thrilled, as chance would have it, that Toby Worthington submitted the photo below from the days of occupancy by Rory Cameron and Lady Kenmare.

From Les Resussites de la Decoration Francaise 1950-60, Mr. Worthington tells us that the murals in this room date from the 18th century, but note the curtain in the center of this photo painted to match the mural.  Lady Kenmare was once a scenic painter in Hollywood, and it is said that she painted the curtain, herself.  Also of note is the sisal rug; Rory Cameron is often credited as introducing this humble material, formerly reserved for wet areas (such as around a swimming pool), for use in combination with fine furnishings.

A Venetian Twelve-light glass chandelier, modern, 4ft 4in high by 4ft 9in diameter, $9,600.

A Louis XVI cream painted console desserte, late 18th century, together with a later copy, each with a white marble top.  Painting refreshed.  32.5in high by 4ft 1.5in wide by 18.5in deep.  $43,875.
A faux marble center table, modern, with a glass top.  There were three.  All of the Dining Room furnishings date from the Cameron-Kenmare decoration except for the cloths below.

Three cream painted tables, modern, two with green and ivory silk fern pattern table cloths with an ivory placementre edge, together with a green damask lined table cloth. $3,600.
The Devoted Classicist can understand editing out the lesser pieces if the replacements are much more interesting.  However, he would probably have found a place for at least three items that were included in the sale.  The locations that they held in La Fiorentina are not known.

A tree-formed painted and parcel-gult side table, 30in high by 20.5in wide by 30.5in deep, $11,400.

A watercolor of a hawk by Van Day Truex, $6,000.
A Louis XVI white painted and black lacquer-mounted chaise.  $10,800.
This last chair is much appreciated among bloggers.  The author of What Is James Wearing? revealed that he was the successful bidder of this chair and shows two similar chairs reproduced by the noted company Frederick P. Victoria & Son that were recently in a Christies auction.   Dean Farris Style and The Peak of Chic have also featured this model, known as the Cole Porter chair, in posts on their blogs.  More on remarkable chairs from Frederick P. Victoria & Son will be featured in upcoming posts of The Devoted Classicist.

Except as noted, all photos are from the Sotheby's sale catalog THE COLLECTION OF VILLA FIORENTINA with vintage copies available here.