|The armory in the Belmont home presents the aspects of a baronial hall in feudal times.|
|The great gallery in the residence of Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont, New York, is filled with a priceless collection of antique armor.|
The Italian palace or villa was built as a setting for life during a glorious and ceremonious age, and its splendid formality of existence is expressed quite as eloquently in the architecture of the period as in the pages of history which record the romance of the age.
|The marble entrance-hall.|
Georgian architecture became so identified with English domestic life and responded so exactly to its requirements that it has always held its place in popular favor; many old homes which were built by the great Georgian architects themselves are yet existing to bear witness to their skill. In England, in the cities as well as in the country, there has never been the incessant tearing down and building up and the consequent obliteration of old localities which goes on so unceasingly in New York. A great English family will for generations occupy the same London residence and possess intact the same country estates, and therefore one may wander through entire urban or rural districts which are full of the architecture of centuries ago. In London, particularly, there are many localities, old squares or streets, entirely built up with residences in the graceful and usually unaffected style which the name of Georgian immediately calls to mind. It is therefore something more than a mere suggestion of Belgravia, Mayfair, Hyde Park or some other of the many fashionable localities of old-world London which one receives at the sight of the New York residence of Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont, at Fifty-first Street and Madison Avenue. Its correctly Georgian facade of white stone, with its tall pilasters extending from the lower floor through the height of the two upper stories and supporting a balustrade of stone are true to precedent and suggest English reserve and reticence, hinting only vaguely at the richness and magnificence which one feels sure must be hidden behind an exterior so dignified.
|The Gothic Room in the Belmont house contains remarkable tapestries and many other treasures of medieval art|
|This view of the Gothic room well exhibits the possibility of producing graceful interiors in this style|
|A corner of the great armory in the Belmont house.|
|The smaller of the drawing-rooms.|
|The reception-room with its Georgian chimney-piece.|
Overhead, hung from the vaulted ceiling, are many battle flags—banners stained and tattered and marked with the arms of medieval knights and of half-forgotten principalities, which bear a mute but eloquent testimony to the days of service in camp or upon the battlefield which they have seen.
|Dining-room of the Belmont house, showing the painted ceiling.|
|477 Madison Avenue - Mrs. O. H. P Belmont Residence|
The three-story townhouse had a pilastered limestone facade reminiscent of London's Lindsey House, and the interior rooms were an eclectic mix of styles decorated by leading firms of the day. While construction was underway, Alva announced that she would build an addition known as "The Armory," an exact reproduction of the Gothic Room in Belcourt Castle, to house her late husband's large collection of medieval and early Renaissance armor. The Armory, which measured 85 by 24 feet, was the largest room in the house and would also be used as a lecture hall for women's suffragists. A branching marble staircase led from the large library on the main floor to the two visible entrances of the Armory. On the north wall of the stair hall was set a stained glass window 23 feet by 18 that depicted Joan of Arc with crusader figures about her. Alva and her youngest son, Harold, took possession of the townhouse in 1909.*** The New York City Organ Project
In 1923, Alva sold her New York townhouse, and the next year she moved to France to be near her daughter, Consuelo.
A modern twenty-three story building replaced 477 Madison Aventine in 1952. Click HERE to see building.