Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"UNDERCLIFF" HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA

    The Charles Heads' "Undercliff", designed by Herbert D. Hale in 1900, was so called because the formal garden was cut into the rocky cliff. The garden, laid out by landscape architect Maratha Brookes Hutcheson, was considered her best work. In 1910 the house was sold to Dr. James Henry Lancashire, who renamed it "Graftonwood". 

"UNDERCLIFF"                                                                          SITE PLAN
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

OCEAN FRONT
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.


SUNROOM, OVERLOOKING OCEAN.
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

ENTRANCE FACADE, AXIS E 
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.
"UNDERCLIFF"
THE FORECOURT, PLANTED MAINLY WITH RHODODENDRONS AND THORNS THE HOUSE IS REACHED THROUGH THE NATURAL WOODED DRIVEWAY; ON THE OTHER SIDE LIES THE SEA. AXIS E
AXIS E
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.


TERRACE, OVERLOOKING OCEAN
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.


WEST SIDE, LOOKING EAST.
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.
"UNDERCLIFF"
LOOKING STRAIGHT OUT TO SEA FROM ITS WOODLAND SETTING.
SEE AXIS C.

"UNDERCLIFF"
THE WALLED TERMINATION OF THE TERRACE, TREATED WITH ESPALIER FRUIT AND A CLOSED-DOOR GATEWAY.


WEST SIDE, LOOKING TOWARD SEA. 
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.
"UNDERCLIFF"
THE HOUSE, TERRACE AND THE SEA BROUGHT TOGETHER BY CAREFUL ELIMINATION OF MANY TREES. LEAVING JUST ENOUGH FOREGROUND TO GIVE THE PROPER BALANCE AND COMPOSITION. SEE AXIS B
THE STAIR HALL
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

THE DRAWING ROOM
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

THE LIVING ROOM
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

THE LIVING ROOM
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

THE LIVING ROOM
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.

THE DINING ROOM
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.
THE BILLIARD ROOM
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.
        
   Charles Head was married to Clementine Hortense (Lovering) Head. Mrs. Head died in April of 1909 and Charles Head died in January of 1910.




   At "Undercliff" Martha Brookes Hutcheson was faced with a rocky, steep hill surrounding the house on the land side and the compelling natural seascape of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. As is visible on the plan Hutcheson effected a transition between the garden and the native landscape by building a semicircular arbor covered with luxuriant, rambling "wild" grapevines. At the same time, she tamed the landscape by lowering the grade at the end of the garden eighteen feet and building a retaining wall, which the arbor also disguised. Giving the flower garden its own axis, away from the drama of the ocean, resolved the competition for the viewer's attention between the natural and the designed landscape, and allowed each to be experienced separately. To avoid the fussiness and claustrophobia such a solution might create on a small property, she provided ocean views from the garden, but they were controlled, enframed, and moderated by a low wall; the full panorama of the sea could be appreciated from the wide terrace supporting the house.    

"UNDERCLIFF"
SHOWING USE OF LEVELS. SEE AXIS C

   
    House and Garden - ONE should not come upon a formal garden too suddenly. The way to it should be a gradual progress from the house. This axiom is beautifully illustrated in the garden at the home of Dr. J. Henry Lancashire at Manchester, Mass.



"UNDERCLIFF"
SHOWING USE OF LEVELS. SEE AXIS B


WEST SIDE, LOOKING NORTH.
HOUSE OF CHARLES HEAD, ESQ., MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA.                    HERBERT D. HALE, ARCHITECT.



"UNDERCLIFF"
SHOWING APPROACH TO GARDEN. SEE AXIS C

     
    From the grass terrace before the house — a terrace worked out by a stone wall and accented with pottery jars—one passes by slow degrees along grass walks down to the lower level of the garden. Here are formal beds brilliant with color the season through. The main axis terminates in a semi-circular lily pool held in a stone curbing.


"UNDERCLIFF"
FROM A SIDE PATH OF THE GARDEN.


"Graftonwtood"
A perspective view shows the design of the beds, the pool and pergola covered with vines.MRS. WM. A. HUTCHESON, Landscape Architect
    
    This is a walled garden, the forest at the upper side being cut off by a high retaining wall covered with vines and apple trees on espaliers.  Beneath the walls are hollyhocks, small roses, iris and buddleia. The lower wall of the garden is not so high because—and this is the surprise! — the slope below it stretches down to the sea.


"Graftonwtood"
Standing on the terrace before the house one catches this glimpse of the garden and its setting.MRS. WM. A. HUTCHESON, Landscape Architect
   
    On either side of the pergola steps are large clipped bay trees. The border planting under the wall includes bright poppies and stately lilies, primroses and Solomon's Seal, peonies and iris, with spireas and tall roses against the wall and climbing roses above.

"Graftonwtood" Manchester, Mass.   Doctor and Mrs. J. Henry Lancashire.
From a photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnson, 1924
    
    At this point the ways divide. On each side stone steps lead to a pergola so heavily bowered in vines that one does not at first suspect it of being a pergola. This forms the exedra or termination of the garden.


"Graftonwtood" 
Little side paths lead to hidden glimpses of great loveliness in color and profusion of blossom.
MRS. WM. A. HUTCHESON, Landscape Architect

"Graftonwtood" 
Manchester, Mass.   Doctor and Mrs. J. Henry Lancashire.
From a photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnson, 1924
   
    Behind rises a rock-ribbed hillside heavily forested. The garden, then, is like a jewel of many colors in a setting of woods, its formal lines and varied colors contrasting with the rugged character of the immediate surroundings.


"Graftonwtood"
From the lily pool one can look up the grass paths between the orderly beds to the house.MRS. WM. A. HUTCHESON, Landscape Architect

The formality of the garden is accounted for by pyramidal box specimens placed at regular intervals along the edge of the middle path and the box by which the beds are bordend in the beds are all the well-loved pernnials—delphinium and digitalis, Campanula, iris, daisies, snapdragons, peonies, feverfew,  heliotrope. Phlox, that splendid color contribution to any garden, has been judiciously and effectively used in various shades of pink and white.


"Graftonwtood" Manchester, Mass.   Doctor and Mrs. J. Henry Lancashire.From a photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnson, 1924

THE CENTRAL DOORWAY OF THE HOUSE, ON WHICH THE GARDEN'S AXIS WAS ESTABLISHED. TAKEN BEFORE PLANTING, FROM THE WOODED LAND AT THE BACK OF THE GARDEN SITE. SEE AXIS A
THE SAME AXIS AS THAT SHOWN IN THE PLANTED GARDEN, BELOW. THE GRADE IN EXCAVATION WAS LOWERED EIGHTEEN FEET AT THE END OF THE GARDEN, THROUGH THE FORMATION OF THE "STERN AND ROCK-BOUND COAST" OF THE NORTH SHORE. THE ARBOR, AS SEEN BELOW, WAS USED AS A LOGICAL TERMINATION AND DISGUISE OF THE NECESSARILY AUSTERE RETAINING-WALL.

AXIS OF THE GARDEN SEEN THROUGH ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE HOUSE, AND CENTRING ON THE BREAKFAST-ROOM TABLE.  THE DROP IN LEVEL BETWEEN THE TERRACE AND THE GARDEN TURF IS BUT SIX INCHES AND COVERED BY ONE STEP, BUT THIS GIVES A DISTINCT IMPRESSION OF DEMARCATION BETWEEN THE GARDEN AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. SEE AXIS A

"UNDERCLIFF"
PATHWAY LEADING TO GRAPE ARBOR, WHICH SPANS THE GARDEN AT ITS END.

   
    Bisecting the garden are two paths, at the end of which are pretty garden ornaments — bird baths and satyrs looking out from a bower of roses, an old stone well-head, and benches set in shady, secluded corners among fine plantings of rhododendrons and grapevines.


"UNDERCLIFF"
DETAIL OF ARBOR TREATMENT WHEN FULLY DEVELOPED.
"UNDERCLIFF"
THE BIRD BATH.  FIGURE BY FRANCES GRIMES, SCULPTOR

    
    The sea beyond, the rock-ribbed hills behind; inside these walls, comfortable formality, soft grass paths, touches of statuary, a lily pool mirroring the sky and color from early spring to the first frost of autumn.


A STONE BATH-HOUSE BUILT OF THE NATIVE ROCK. THE SUBSTANTIAL WOODEN LATTICE OVER THE ROOF WAS BUILT TO HOLD WILD GRAPEVINES. MAKING THE INTRODUCTION OF THE BUILDING PRACTICALLY INCONSPICUOUS FROM THE LEVELS ABOVE AND FROM THE WATER.

      
    1938 aerial showing "Graftonwood" aka "Undercliff".  Sometime after this aerial was taken the house was destroyed by some means unknown to me. Another, smaller  home was built on the original foundations. The gardens survive  BING VIEW today





 
    Perhaps no man in his day was better known in the financial world than Charles Head, the founder of the well known banking house of Charles Head & Company, which was located at 74 State street.




   For prestige and past record this house probably was second to none. For years Mr. Head was actively engaged on the Boston stock exchange, and he had been a member of the governing committee for 25 years, serving on this committee at the time of his death. He was also president of the exchange from 1893 to 1896.

The building in which this banking house made its home, at 74 State street, was the first example of its kind in the banking district.
    
    74 State Street, corner of Merchants Row. First building erected for use by banking and brokerage business. Distinguished by having bedroom and bath. Occupied, February 1902 - building demolished September, 1921.


412 Beacon Street
    
    The Heads' city home, 412 Beacon Street, Boston. Link also mentions a Hudson River home in Westport called the "Headlands".

Mrs. James Henry Lancashire - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Marcel Ignaz Gaugengigl
 
    The Lancashire's were wealthy, social,  world travelers and multi-home owner(stories are found in the New York Times Archives). In the doctors obituary(March 6, 1936) it reads "he had retired from practice, he had interests in Michigan mines and other industries." 


1015 Fifth Avenue
The Nanny House

    Before 1916 the Lancashire's were living at 1015 Fifth Avenue, which had been a extravagant wedding gift to Marjorie Gould on her married to Anthony Drexel Jr. by her father George Gould. They then went on to purchase 7 East 75th Street from James McLean. 



11 East 69th Street
  
    In 1923 the Lancashire's commissioned Delano & Aldrich to design a new home at 11 East 69th Street. 


952 Fifth Avenue was the only apartment building built during the time zoning restrictions limited height to 75 feet.

   Mrs. Lancashire died in 1946, her last address being 952 Fifth Avenue. She had sold 11 East 69th in 1931. In 1940 the contents of "Graftonwood" were sold in an auction. "ANTIQUE FURNITURE, furnishings, paintings, etc.". It must have been after this time frame the original "Undercliff" was demolished???

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting article! Mrs. Lancashire's house, built by her father, Ammi W. Wright, to entice her to Alma, Michigan is still standing on State St. Alma, Mich. It is currently a B&B called Saravilla. I can understand why the Lancashire's left Alma; as there were virtually no affluent people living there.

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