Saturday, February 2, 2008

Richard Morris Hunt, Part 5

The most opulent house in Newport is probably 'Marblehouse'. Built between 1888 and 1892 for William Kissam Vanderbilt ( yes, another one, they must have bred like bunnies ), this was the first newport 'palace' - before this most of the mansions were very informal in nature -more like true beach houses. The house was $11 million to build ( yes, that much back in 1888 ) and $7 million of that was in marble alone. When you visit you can see why - every square inch, interior and exterior is covered in exquisite marble! It's like a big tomb on the beach -but I imagine in the pre-air conditioning days this really was a great way to stay cool.
two photos I could find of the interior, it gives you an idea of the grandness and the acres of marble! Looks more like Versailles than a beach house!

Just behind the house in the backyard is a really marvelous chinese tea house! It had just recently been restored when I saw it 2 years ago.
the teahouse which is just off the back of the house, pictured

Now, something upsetting is that RMH supposed based this on the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Hmm....I don't think so -but it's still nice. I'll do a posting on the P.T. next week so you can see how that is SOOOO different than Marble House - even its function was different, not to mention that Marble House was built to impress while the Petite Trianon was built as a refuge away from court life at Versailles ...don't get me started....... I'm getting upset...........This is NOT the petite trianon......... It's not even the Trianon!
a sitting room off a bedroom -what, no marble?

I was pretty sick of taking photos by the time of this house ( plus it was raining ) so the photos are courtesy of

a view of the ceiling of the portico- marble marble everywhere!

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