Thursday, January 31, 2013

"These Bradley Martin Times"

   THE NEW YORK TIMES  - Published: January 31, 1897


  Again the incidents and events of another week in the society world, which ordinarily would have been important and interesting, if not all-engrossing, in and by themselves to the devotees of gayety, have been completely overshadowed by the excitement and anticipatory agitation caused by the near coming of the great fancy-dress ball to be given by Mrs. Bradley Martin at the Waldorf on Feb. 10. The universal topic of conversation and discussion is this ball, its probable appointments and arrangements, and the costumes that will be worn individually and collectively by the guests. Although an attempt has been made to keep the costumes a secret by most of the men and women who purpose attending the ball, this has been found impossible, and through friends, servants, and the costumers themselves, many a cherished secret has been divulged. 

The Stables at "Vernon Manor"

Mr. R. V. N. Gambrill, M.B., on the box of the road coach Defiance in the stableyard at "Vernon Manor", in a painting by F. B. Voss.

  Richard V. N. Gambrill was a foxhunting man, pursuing sport on both sides of the Atlantic, and was Master of a Beagle pack (eventually the Vernon and Somerset Beagles) for forty years. He drove the famous Vanderbilt grays to his road coach Defiance, and was not above putting one of his hunters to trap or sleigh. The grays were succeeded by a team of Hackneys, and these in turn by four smart cobs; Defiance was a well-known sight at shows and hunt meetings.

Richard V.N. Gambrill, Vernon Manor, residence at Peapack, New Jersey. Stable group, spider phaeton and coach.
  The family shared his interest, so that the "Vernon Manor" stable was a center of activity. It is highly improbable that anyone would build a domestic stable on such a scale nowadays, but then a modern installation is unlikely to require a carriage room and a sleigh room, together with harness room and vehicle washroom, in addition to stabling for twelve hunters, their appurtenances, and four coach horses. 

  A pleasant center-hall Colonial stud groom's "cottage" is connected to the rear of the building by a covered way under the eaves of the farrier's shop; "strappers," or undergrooms, lived above the heated tack and washrack area. The arrangements show an astute blend of practical and aesthetic value.

  The building turns its back on the north wind, catching the sun in the yard. Each stall, floored in cork brick, has a half door, a sizable window opening under the arched arcade, and a small service door, supplemented by a barred window frame, which gives access from the corridor behind it. The stall partitions are solid to within two feet of the ten-foot ceiling; each stall has its own hay drop, which rises into the loft and may be closed with a hatch. Running water was supplied to every stall. The feed room is at one angle of the service passage and the drop to the manure cart at the other; the stall area is confined to the inner half of the yard. The tack cleaning room, washrack, tack room, harness room, and sleigh room occupy the outer half of the east wing; opposite them are the carriage house, vehicle wash, and closet room. 

Venture, Viking, Vogue, and Vanity in their stalls at "Vernon Manor".

  The carriage house measures thirty-six by sixty-three feet (Mr. Gambrill, in addition to the red and black Defiance, had a remarkable collection of other vehicles, many of them inherited, from his father in-law, C. Ledyard Blair) and extends outside the west wall for more than half its length, thus preserving the architectural balance within the courtyard.

Detail of the facade of the "Vernon Manor" carriage house.

  In style, the stable is an understated reflection of the formal Georgian manor house, and in spite of an undoubted elegance, has a warm and welcoming air behind its low brick wall. 

  Click HERE to see the home of Mr. R. V. N. Gambrill, M.B - "Vernon Manor"(updated photos 1/31/2013). The stable location at wikimapia. BING.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

MUSICIANS ARE INDIGNANT. They Hear that the Marine Band Is to be at the Bradley-Martin Ball, and Condemn Dr. Rainsford.

  THE NEW YORK TIMES  - Published: January 30, 1897

  The members of the Musical Mutual Protective Union are very much agitated over a report that Mrs. Bradley-Martin has engaged, or will engage, the Marine Band of Washington to furnish music at her great ball, and that consequently they are not to get a single dollar of the great amount that that lady is to spend.

In The Garden of Henry C. Martin, Glen Cove, Long Island

  In the garden of Henry C. Martin at Glen Cove, Long Island, rose-violet cosmos and lavender-blue sage are companioned with plum balsam and cherry-red and maroon petunias. In these richer colors the designer of flower gardens has a range of selection that is indeed inspiring. The Martin garden, of which Harrie T. Lindeberg was the architect and Charles Galanti the gardener, is perhaps one of the most colorful of modern gardens. Not only are dark blue asters planted with such flowers as blue sage and lavender thistles, but there are combinations of yellow and red flowers that would have been considered insufferable in our one-time gardens. Greenish cream and buff zinnias, saffron and salmon dahlias, giant sunflowers are in the same scene with orange marigold, deep golden coreopsis, brilliant yellow calendulas, brownish yellow gaillardias. Injected in this wide gamut of yellows are reds as startling as the scarlet of the Mexican sage. The secret, however, that permits such striking combinations is that of the impressionistic painter; intermingled with the brilliant yellows and scarlets are the brownish red of heleniums, the plum of balsams, the magenta of straw flowers, the maroon of petunias. In such company of many colors the Mexican sage and sunflowers lose their individuality yet retain the brilliancy that gives vitality to the picture and renders it scintillating with light and palpitant with color energy.


GLEN COVE, L. I., Feb. 4. 1923 The New York Times—Rescue of a common house cat by Mrs. Richard L. Davisson, daughter of William H. Porter, member of J. P. Morgan & Co.. marked the burning here today of the $150,000 home of Henry C. Martin, cotton goods broker, of 25 Madison Avenue, New York. 

  Mrs.   Davisson   was   at   the Nassau County Club, which adjoins the Martin estate, when flames were discovered in the roof. She hurried to the burning structure accompanied by several other wealthy club members and residents of the vicinity, who succeeded in saving several pieces of valuable furniture. As the blaze spread to the lower floors and further removal of the furnishings became dangerous, Mrs. Davisson saw a cat at a second-story window, and while those about, unable to restrain her, held their breath, she dashed into the blazing hallway and brought the animal to safety.

  The fire, supposed to have been started by sparks from the chimney, made steady headway, unchecked by a dozen streams of water from Glen Cove and Locust Valley fire engines, rendered ineffective by inadequate pressure. Mr. Martin, who was called from a skating party on Beaver Lake, Oyster Bay, when the fire started, recently sold the devastated residence to Colonel William N. Dykman, President of the New York State Bar Association. Exactly   to   whom   the   property belonged  at  the  time   of  its destruction could  not be learned because it is not known whether the  actual  transfer of the deed had been consummated.

  Smoke and flames  from  the burning building could be seen for miles and brought to the scene virtually the entire population of the fashionable district in which the house is situated, and, in addition to members of the Nassau County Club, members of the exclusive Beaver Dam Winter Sports Club at Mill Neck, Oyster Bay. Members of these clubs received slight burns as they aided in carrying out the antique chairs, inlaid tables and rare books which the slow progress of the fire permitted to be salvaged from the ground floor. As the flames died out, after also consuming a garage adjoining the house in the rear, many of the wealthy impromptu firemen stood guard over the rescued household furnishings until their removal to the home of Mrs. Jackson A. Dykman, daughter-in-law of Colonel Dykman,  on Duck Pond Road.

  Among those who risked a wetting and possible injury in entering the flaming structure to save its contents were Mrs. Stanhope Nixon, a guest of Mrs. Dykman; Reginald D. Whitman, who hurried to the scene from his residence at12 Highland Terrace; Mr. and Mrs. James B. Taylor Jr., who live near by; Mr. and Mrs. L. P. Fairchild of Meadow Springs, Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson Runyon Jr., whose home is on Duck Pond Road and Mr. and Mrs. George F. Bourne. The End.

E. Belcher-Hyde Map - 1914

E. Belcher-Hyde Map - 1927

BELOW - The Nassau Country Club is to the bottom left, St Andrews Lane cuts through the middle with a jog to the west just past Titus Road. Speculations and Possibilities - At the jog or turn to the west you can see landscaping/hedges that could have been the entrance. To the left of this entrance is a smaller shingled structure that is out of character to the neighborhood so perhaps it was a outbuilding of some sort. The area in question matches the above maps. What catches my eye is the double row of trees that can be seen to the west of the country club. Perfect location for "
one of the most colorful of modern gardens."
Historic Aerials - 1966

Monday, January 28, 2013


  THE NEW YORK TIMES  - Published: January 17, 1897

  January of the present year of grace will probably be a red letter month in the annals of New York society for some years to come from the gayeties it has already brought, and those which it promises to bring,. The dullness, so far as society entertaining and entertainment were concerned, of the Christmastide holidays, has been followed by a somewhat unexpected and unusual amount of gayety. This has not been confined entirely to one comparatively small and exclusive set, but other elements and sets of the now large and rapidly growing New York society world have also enjoyed an unusual amount of entertainment, so that the season has become a gay one to every person who considers himself or herself entitled to any position, or to whom any position is conceded, in New York society.


Click video for the opening song to the movie REVERSAL OF FORTUNE filmed at "Knole"

Inside main entrance gate - 2002 - click HERE for more  

THE NEW RESIDENCE OF HERMAN B. DURYEA, ESQ. at Westbury, Long Island Designed by Carrere & Hastings, Architects

Called a experimental Italian-inspired villa, Hastings was asked what he might build as his ideal house. He replied that he had already done so at "Knole"
 MR. DURYEA'S new place at Westbury is purely an architect's citation in the midst of what was but two years ago an untouched and characteristic bit of Long Island landscape.

  A clump of wooded knolls was selected for the building operations, and a thrifty second growth of dogwood, hickories, oaks and chestnuts was deliberately cut away, not only upon the space to be occupied by the house itself, but to form an unbroken vista across the garden and continuing on for several miles over the low undulating land. Standing in the middle of this one can almost recognize the distant sea. This outlook through the enclosing woods obtained, and the house adjusted to it, the immediate surroundings of the structure became a question of great importance. Here, however, the advantage of a background for any decorative treatment of the ground already existed, and there was needed only the system of trellises at the end of the garden to speak the last architectural word before the eye is lost in the depths of a wild wood beyond.

The grassed walk, looking south - 1904
North allee looking towards ruins in winter - 2001

The ruins were musicians played during lawn parties - 2004 - called the Love Temple, it has cherub-topped columns with fruit baskets on their heads. Cracked in an ice storm, part of the structure has fallen.

The long walk - 1904

The long walk - 1984

One can proceed to the end of the axis and take in the views of the estate, or turn back to see the masses of the loggia wings and the villa beyond

  The design of the ground is so extremely simple that its plan can be read from the illustrations. The vista alluded to passes across the ends of the wings, and within their limits it is a formal walk bordered with hedges. Considerate of the pool, it curves outward in the center and so completes a border of green surrounding the water. Beyond the confines of the house, it meets the character of the hillside and becomes simply a broad turf walk, extremely beautiful and imposing, and suggesting in miniature the tapis verts of Versailles and Compiegne.

The courtyard and basin - 1904

The courtyard and basin - 2002

Garden entrance detail - 1904

A view from the garden entrance - 1906
Reflecting pool is tapered for perspective - 1984
The basin after being restored - 2004 - brick has replaced the original marble

The gardens and its background - 1906
The sunken garden -  1904

The garden courtyard - 1906

View of the garden from the loggia - 1903
Open loggia off the dining-room - 2004

The courtyard and basin - 2004 - enclosed loggia connected to the drawing-room
 The effect of calm dignity is furthered by restraint in giving over areas to flowers. Floral color, therefore, merges in effect with that of shrubs, with rich green turf and opulent hedges of box, brought from Holland. The treillage, too, is a green, yet darker, and the note of all is a sharp contrast with the severely white exterior of the house. Many cedars, fifteen to twenty feet in height, were brought from near Boonton, N. J., and successfully reestablished on the grounds.

Its intended precedent is the Villa Giulia in Rome, one of Hastings' favorite Italian buildings

Main facade - 1904

A foreboding front block intended to induce the false impression of an impenetrable screen -  2004

  The character of the structure is that of the Louis XVI. style, and it is built of brick, stuccoed with cement and finished with a brilliant coat of shell-lime and marble dust. There is little exterior enrichment, except upon the center of the garden front and the first impression of the interior is one of spaciousness, due as well to the large rotunda, open through two storeys, as to the broad reaches of halls and the ample scale of the rooms. There is, also, an ingenious contriving of the different storeys in such a manner that the first floor upon the garden side of the house lies at a level midway between the basement and the first floor upon the entrance front. Steps reaching these rise and descend from the rotunda and disappear beyond a series of arches that are plastered in semblance of French Caen-stone walls.

The basement plan

Entrance hall - 1920's 
 ***The entrance hall is square, the pilastered walls of pink Caen stone. Steps between a screen of Doric columns lead to a corridor connecting with a suite of bedrooms on the right, and with the service department on the left. Two curved stairways, one on each side, are the approaches to the upper hall, which is the center of the house—the point to which everything radiates and by which the plan is dominated. Barr Ferree - 1904***

The hall - 1904

Rotunda - 1920's

Rotunda - 2002 - George II carved giltwood pier mirrors, circa 1740, attributed to Benjamin Goodison shown on the  second level balcony 

The vertical circulation system serves to organize the entire series of indoor and outdoor rooms directing the visitor either outward, toward the garden, or inward, toward the bedrooms and balconies on the upper floors - 1904

  Into the rotunda open the smoking-room and the reception-rooms, the panelling of their lofty walls colored a French gray ; and beyond these are on one hand the dining-room, in Circassian walnut illuminated with gold, and on the other the living-room. The walls of this beautiful apartment are clothed with old crimson damask found in Italy and hung within panels with that care necessary to preserve such a rich remnant of Europe's old textile art. The woodwork runs to the ceiling and is lead-colored, making the finest background for the large canvases of old masters which give at once a great interest to the walls, and balance the chimney-piece, to which the eye is first attracted by an elaborate mantel of carved Siena marble and a gilt rococo mirror above.

Main floor
Smoking-room - 1904 - Mr. Duryea's office
***It has dark green walls, on which are many old colored prints and other sporting mementos. The mantel is of green marble, and the furniture of the same color. Barr Ferree - 1904***

The drawing-room - 1904 - living-room - measuring forty-feet by twenty-two feet
***The drawing-room is paneled in pearl. Great panels of red damask, curtains of the same brilliant color, and furniture from Battle Abbey in red and gold, give the dominant color. The fireplace is of yellow marble, with a paneled overmantel and a rare old mirror. Barr Ferree - 1904***

The dining-room - 1904
***The dining-room, which occupies the space corresponding to the drawing-room on the left of the oval hall, is paneled throughout in Italian walnut, with pilasters at the windows and doors, all very beautiful in color. The ceiling is elliptical and perfectly plain. The lights are girandoles. There is no mantel, but an English stone fireplace. Above it hangs a portrait of Mrs. Duryea, by John W. Alexander. An open-air room, identical with that at the end of the drawing-room, opens from the dining-room. Barr Ferree - 1904***

Portrait of Mrs. Herman Duryea - c. 1900 by John W. Alexander - Ellen Homer Winchester, widow of William Weld - born in Boston, MA 15 August 1861 and died in Bern, Switzerland 23 December 1927 - William Fletcher Weld, a third-generation Weld, was born in 1855 and died in 1893. (He established a Weld Professorship at Harvard Law School in 1882.)  The widow Weld married Duryea in 1895.

Mrs. Duryea's bedroom - 1904 - 
***A flight of marble steps leads from the center of the oval hall to the upper corridor, which opens into it. Here are Mr. and Mrs. Duryea's rooms, the latter a large room, with a boudoir adjoining it in the corner of the house. All these apartments are delightfully furnished, each with its own scheme of harmonious decoration and its own special color. Barr Ferree - 1904*** 

The third level

***...stairs lead to the upper third story, the corridor here forming a picture gallery. The rooms are entirely set apart for guests, and are arranged en suite with bathrooms. Each is furnished in chintz, very beautiful in color and delightfully varied. Barr Ferree - 1904 - each with different moldings and patterned wood floors. ***

Attic level

The vista through the wood - 1906
Loggia exterior - 1904

The west facade - 1906
The west facade - 2004
House with balustrade, iron work, and bronze medallions - two tier rose garden - 2001
Overall view of rose garden with statue of Ceres -photo taken from third floor window - 2001
Lower formal garden - 1984
View of lower formal gardens of south end of villa - 1984

Statue of Ceres with whimsical topiaries - 2000

Circular garden off lower formal garden - 1984

Stairs leading down to circular garden from the terrace - 1988

Fountain with cherub holding fish, surrounded by impatiens with urns - 2001
Service court - 2004

  The stable of the place lies apart and unseen from the house, and therefore does nor conform to the style of the mansion, but it is a charming structure of dignified, yet low and graceful lines ; and, especially within its courtyard, there is a local touch in honor of Long Island's indigenous dwellings, which makes it a harmonious companion to the original farmhouse of the estate, which is situated close by. This building the owner and his architects have wisely preserved as the superintendent's dwelling.

The stables could hold up to forty-seven horses - 1904

The wood-shingled stables burned in the mid 90's 
The stable courtyard - 1904
Harmanus Barkulo Duryea, sportsman and philanthropist, b. in Brooklyn, N. Y., 13 Dec., 1863; d. at Saranac Lake, N. Y., 25 Jan., 1916, son of Harmanus Barkulo and Mary (Peters) Duryea. The name of Duryea originated in France as De Deuilly .....

  Duryea's personal wealth allowed him to devote his entire life to sports and leisure. Faced with growing anti-gambling sentiment in America, Duryea shipped his stable of racehorses to France and sold all his race horses in training during a notable sale with H. P. Whitney. Duryea sold the house in 1910 to Bradley Martin Jr. and the former Helen Phipps(daughter of steel magnate Henry Phipps). With a revival in horse racing he returned to America in 1915 but died in 1916 killing plans to resume breeding and racing.  

  The Martins made a number of changes, adding a library, breakfast-room and a indoor tennis court, bringing Hastings back to do the work. 

  To the left of the rotunda the new breakfast room replaced the smoking-room, finished in light green and dominated by hand-painted chinoiserie wall panels depicting children at play. Through a pair of mirrored doors is the baronial dining room, a pine mantel added by the Martins is styled after Grinling Gibbons, elaborately carved with game birds.

  Down several steps from the rotunda the library had served as maid's quarters. Here, a secret door is masked by a false bookcase that seamlessly blends with the room's other leather-bound volumes and rich oak paneling. It opens to a small hall and a set of stairs that lead down to a large billiard room. Family expansion  necessitated a nursery wing addition to the south corner of the house, above the living room consisting of matching pine-paneled bedrooms and room for a governess. The tennis court was destroyed by fire in the mid 1960's. Click HERE to see its location at wikimapia.

"Knole" is said to be the house that architect Hastings most wished he could have built for himself

The garden front of the house

The family used to swim in the reflecting pool, which is six feet deep at one end

  Two generations of Martins called "Knole" home and maintained the estate for nearly 100 years. In 2002 the family put the remaining thirty-two acres(out of the original 100) on the market for $16 millionSothebys held a sale for the important  pieces of furniture from the estate the same year.

George II white and Sienna marble chimney piece was acquired in 1911, the year after the house was purchased by the Martins, to replace the original simple drawing room mantelpiece. This features a central tablet carved with a mythological scene depicting putti and a lion.

circa 1740, by Matthias Lock a veneered jasper slab on a frame supported by cabriole legs headed by finely sculpted lions' masks. In the center is a frieze carved with the mask of Hercules with a headdress of the pelt of the
Nemean lion

George III marquetry inlaid and gilt-metal-mounted commode, attributed to Matthew and Ince, circa 1775. The firm of John Mayhew and William Ince was one of the most successful and enduring partnerships of cabinetmakers in the 18th century. In the early 1760s, Mayhew and Ince developed a close relationship with Robert Adam, one of the foremost architects of his era, and many of his most important clients, making furniture both to Adam's designs and their own.
  A developer intending sub-division purchased the property in 2004 for $11 million. Another turn-over in 2007 led to the removal of the remaining outbuildings and a new road, Maple Crest Drive, cut into the property. Plot plans show room for five homes.  The first one is pictured below. It took out the Love Temple at the end of the Long Walk.

  January 14, 2013  comment by a anonymous poster at states "home  itself is deserted and being let to ruin."

  Click HERE to see "Knole", Thomas Hastings dream home at wikimapia. BING.  View a 1966 aerial showing the estate undeveloped, the indoor tennis court, stables, greenhouses and Superintendent's house still standing. 

Photo of the stable shown HERE.