Thursday, November 13, 2014

sleeping beauty

Last month we visited the grounds and stable of the amazing Bartow-Pell Mansion.

Today we tour the interiors. 

Wandering these 19th century chambers made me reflect on how our sense of beauty has evolved through the ages.

The entrance hall features show-off woodwork and a spectacular elliptical stair, colonial craftsmanship we’ll probably never see again.

The large “living rooms” (called parlors then) are separated by mahogany pocket doors, opened in winter only when a visiting crowd required the space.

Classic Greek detailing is everywhere.

No doubt, the 1840 fireplaces worked hard to make it livable in winter.


The wonderful Conservatory is unusual for a house from this era. It originally had a dirt floor, all the better to grow small oranges through winter.

Directly adjacent to the kitchen is the family dining room, painted an ashy-rose color believed at the time to aid digestion.

Now just wait 'til you see the second floor!

The daughters bedrooms are a beautiful, period fantasy. 

And the formal master bedrooms are superb. 
They showcase precious French antique furniture. 

Lafayette visited here.

Vice-President Aaron Burr, famous for shooting Alexander Hamilton in a duel, married a Bartow and his writing desk is still on the second floor.

There is beauty everywhere in this mansion, but modern living has allowed us to forget.

Simple chores were difficult then. 
These rooms were hard to heat.

Fashion, in our culture, comes and goes.

But the sleeping beauty of this Bronx mansion is forever. 

Go see. 

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