Designed By CARRERE & HASTINGS
|"Vernon Court", Newport, R. I., Residence of Richard Gambrill|
|"Vernon Court", Newport, R. I., Residence of Richard Gambrill - note the "e" in Gambrell's|
|Residence of Mrs. Richard Gambrill at Newport - plot plan|
THE beautiful residence illustrated in these pages is the most recent addition to that group of summer homes at Newport which exhibits, as a whole, the most elaborate and finished expression of domestic architecture in this country. Mrs. Richard Gambrill's house exhibits the successful treatment of a site which possessed no unusual advantages upon which the mind of an architect naturally seizes, and the effect, therefore, was to be gained by the house alone, but few outlying features being permitted to attract the eye from it. The style is that of the Louis XVI period, and, if chronology be important, it may be termed the "French Colonial." The property measures about 300x400 feet and is situated a quarter of a mile from the sea, on the principal street, Bellevue Avenue. It is nearly surrounded by high walls, and the forecourt leading from Victoria Avenue is entered through an ornamental iron railing and gateway which were put in place after the photograph given below was taken. Small garden houses, used for tools, stand upon either side of the entrance at the ends of rows of maple trees. Beyond the forecourt is the stable court where visiting carriages disappear behind solid oaken gates.
Entering the house upon the east the visitor stands in a large hall at the end of which the stairway is wisely withdrawn beyond one of the groups of columns which surround the room. These columns are of Breche-violette marble and the walls back of them are faced with Caen stone. On the left of the hall is the library; and behind the stairway on the right are the service rooms, connecting with the court which is entered from Shepard Avenue. In front of the hall is the salon, occupying the center of the house between the dining and living-rooms, through each of which one may look across a loggia into the north or south flower gardens. And stepping out into one of these loggias the visitor finds himself in a delightful open-air apartment affording a transition between the house itself and the surroundings. Across the distant end of the flower garden runs a graceful wood trellis, painted a subtle shade of green; and this treillage is repeated as an applique to the outer walls of the loggia. By the sequence of house, loggia, the little enclosed garden and the vaulted trellis,—soon to be wreathed with vines,—the architecture goes out to meet nature, and nature, in a sense, enters the structure, for the use of vineal motifs is seen in the paintings executed by Mr. James Wall Finn which occupy the friezes and ceilings of the loggias. Light bluish greens are the dominating colors in these scenes which reproduce garden vistas through bowers containing birds and blossoms among the foliage. The walls below these designs are of cream-colored stone, and classic ornaments fittingly decorate the half-open apartment.
The walls of the salon are panelled from floor to ceiling with wood, painted a very light mauve, and the mantel is made of Carrara marble, studded with gilt ornaments. The living-room is likewise painted its entire height; but the color of this room is that of the almost naturally finished French walnut here used. The carved ornaments are of a subdued gold, and the mantel is cut from Breche-dor'ee marble which gives a delicate gradation of color to that of the walnut. The woodwork of the library is of an extremely light green color with ornaments tinted slightly darker, beginning a range of shades the other end of which is supplied by a mantel of Connemara marble. All the interior fittings of the house were made from special designs in the workshops of Paris. These include the metal ornaments applied to the wood and stone work, all the hardware and the lighting fixtures. Even the paint, which gives the peculiar green to the trellises and other outside woodwork was bought in Paris after all attempts to get it in this country had failed. The furniture also, now in place in the house, has with few exceptions been selected by the owner abroad.
The material of the house and stable and the masonry in connection with them is brick covered with a roughcast of shell lime and marble dust. This composition has been proved enduring and has the tendency to become a fine white ivory tone with the action of weather and time. The roof of the house provides a sharp contrast to this in being covered with blue black Pennsylvania slates, and the walls surrounding the property are capped with red tiles.
In the center of the second floor of the house is a large hall lighted from the roof and surrounded by the owner's suite of rooms and also by three guest rooms. From all the windows, except those on the north, superb views of the sea can be had through wide ares of vision.
The stretch of land between the house and Bellevue Avenue has been designed as an integral part of the scheme, which ties together every portion of the property. Axes of rooms and vistas of the house become the center-lines of the outdoor spaces, all of which are arranged with a clear sense of what the French term l'oeil du plan, a proportion and balance of parts which should be apparent in every good architectural scheme.
Two terraces lead from the salon to the level of the ground, and beyond a beech and an oak tree lies a fountain basin, forty feet in diameter, marking the center of a sunken space whose four parterres correspond to the width of the building. These parterres are bordered with flowers, and four large box bushes grow in their corners. The hedges are of Californian privet and the walks are of turf. High masses of shrubs are to be reared on each side of the sunken garden and in the corners of the grounds nearest to Bellevue Avenue are clumps of such tall trees as the pine, spruce, taxodium, liquidambar and the plane. Between these groves is a dense plantation of Japanese and American pyramidal conifers, providing a background to the garden when seen from the house, and in front of which it is likely that statuary will be placed. Outside this thicket, the surrounding wall of the grounds is replaced for a distance by an iron fence, more hospitable to the eye, and giving to the public highway a view of the ornamental growths within.
|A GARDEN HOUSE AND VAULTED TRELLIS|
|GARDEN HOUSE AND THE "MISSING" WROUGHT IRON FENCE|
|LOOKING TOWARDS THE EAST LOGGIA - VAULTED TRELLIS LONG GONE|
|ENTRANCE GATES OFF VICTORIA AVENUE|
|THE ENTRANCE TO THE FORECOURT - NOTE THE MISSING GATES AND FENCE|
|THE ENTRANCE TO THE FORECOURT|
|THE ENTRANCE TO THE FORECOURT|
|THE APPROACH TO THE HOUSE|
|FORECOURT ENTRANCE - Lions have replaced the lady sphinxes|
|THE ENTRANCE TO THE STABLES FROM THE FORECOURT|
|FRONT ENTRANCE TODAY|
|THE HOUSE FROM THE SUNKEN GARDEN|
|RESIDENCE OF MRS. GAMBRILL - FORMAL SUNKEN GARDEN|
|FORMAL SUNKEN GARDEN AND POOL|
|PLANTINGS AT PERIMETER OF PROPERTY - Fernleaf Beech tree is said to be a Champion Tree of America|
|FORTY FOOT CIRCULAR POOL AND FOUNTAIN IN THE FORMAL SUNKEN GARDEN|
|A SWIMMING POOL REPLACED THE FOUNTAIN AND POOL IN THE 1980S|
|FORMAL SUNKEN GARDEN|
|A MODERN VIEW OF THE FORMAL SUNKEN GARDEN|
|VIEW OF THE SEA FRONT|
|THE GARDEN FRONT|
|GARDEN FRONT AND EAST LOGGIA|
|THE EASTERN PERGOLA AT "VERNON COURT"|
|EAST LOGGIA TODAY|
|GARDEN SPACE NOW CALLED FOUR HORSE GARDEN|
|THE WESTERN PERGOLA AT "VERNON COURT"|
|NOW CALLED THE ROSE GARDEN|
|THE MAIN HALL|
Niches are framed by columns and capped with seashell entablatures
|EARLY VIEW - STAIRWAY - It was inspired by the Abbey Palace of Royaumont|
|MAIN HALL AND STAIRWAY|
|STAIRWAY TODAY - The "Romance Staircase" was modeled after a staircase at the Petit Trianon, Versailles|
|THE PETIT SALON|
|THE PETIT SALON|
|The Petit Salon, originally the Marie-Antoinette Reception Room, sits opposite the main entrance in the Marble Hall. With walls of the pale lavender and white plaster traceries from Louis XIV's France, it was where guests were first received. French doors open to the white marble terrace overlooking the formal sunken garden|
|EARLY VIEW OF THE GRAND SALON|
|Interior designer Jules Allard expropriated Italian black walnut paneling from a European stately home for the Grand Salon. This salon is considered most significant amongst Allard's legendary interior design accomplishments|
|The dining room was used as a Ballroom for special occasions|
|The Library was inspired by the Queen's Library at the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Mrs. Gambrill had her books rebound in bright colored bindings to contrast with the muted pastel green tones of the walls to enhance their visual impact. The shelves were then lined with English (red), French (orange), and German (yellow) language books|
|THE INTERIOR OF A LOGGIA AT MRS. GAMBRILL'S HOUSE|
|Inspired by the Villa Giulia in Rome, home to Pope Julius III|
|Inside the east loggia with its Tiffany designed murals - Restored in 2007|
|DETAIL - The Treillage Loggia Mural|
|West or Rose Garden Loggia - The original Tiffany murals have been lost|
|ANNA GAMBRILL ca. 1895|
Click HERE to see "Vernon Court" at wikimapia. BING.