One of the add-ons to the GBVS Newport Weekend in 2022 was the opportunity to visit a number of the mansions for tours. I took advantage of this and visited The Breakers, Rosecliff, Marble House, and Chateau-Sur-Mer.
One of the grandest of the Newport mansions, The Breakers was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and modeled on Italian Renaissance palaces. Completed in 1895, it was the summer home of Cornelius II and Alice Vanderbilt. The house totals 138,300 square feet.
Here are a selection of photos, starting with the grand front gate and continuing through a few of the indoor vistas.
Rosecliff was built for Theresa Fair Oelrichs and ‘modeled after Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles’.
I’ve been inside in the past (in fact, a much-younger-looking-me was able to dance in this mansion back in 2012!), but on this occasion I just visited the exterior and gardens for a lovely picnic.
The 50-room Marble House was built by another Vanderbilt — Ava Vanderbilt — between 1888 and 1892. As one might imagine given the name, there is quite a bit of marble to be seen in this house!
One of the facts that stuck with me relates to the chairs in the dining room. They are made of bronze and covered in gold and silk velvet. Each chair weighs 75 to 100 pounds! Just imagine being in an 1890s dress and wanting to get up from the table. It’s no wonder that someone needed to help with the chair!
Chateau sur Mer
Compared to the Gilded Age Newport mansions, Chateau sur Mer feels somewhat modest. However, when it was completed in 1852 it was the most ‘palatial residence in Newport’. This house was built for William Shepard Wetmore, who made his money in commercial shipping.
I enjoyed the details, including the large owl on the library table. I asked the docent, who let me know that it is, in fact, a humidor, and that owls had no particular significance to the family that is known about.
Ta da! Thanks for joining me on this excursion!