Tag Archives: historic homes

Inaugural Exhibit at Rosecliff Examines Ties Between Newport, RI and American South

(Newport, RI)  A new exhibition curated by The Preservation Society of Newport County,  Newport and Her Southern Sisters: Three Centuries of Art and Design,  runs through January 3, 2016.  The first exhibition in the newly-renovated gallery space on the second floor of Rosecliff (1902) will take visitors across three centuries to explore the relationship between Newport and the American South: from New Orleans, Charleston and Baltimore to Virginia’s fabled plantations and resorts and the winter playground of Palm Beach.

Admission to the exhibition is included as part of the Rosecliff house tour.  For details on ticket options and to purchase tickets, visit www.NewportMansions.org.

From never-before-seen ball gowns to portraits, silver and furniture, the exhibition will shed new light on Newport as a vibrant cultural crossroad over 300 years. It will tell the story in four chronological chapters: the colonial period, the antebellum period, post-Civil War & Gilded Age, and early 20th century.  Objects and costumes on display will come from several Preservation Society properties, as well as loans from the private collections of families with ties to both Newport and the South.

“The close bond between Newport and the South – through trade, tourism and marriage – didn’t stop with the Civil War.  In fact, Southerners like Alva Vanderbilt and Ward McAllister helped define Newport as the Crown jewel of Gilded Age society,” said Preservation Society Museum Affairs Director Dr. Laurie Ossman.    “We hope this exhibition will generate interest and encourage further discussion about these complex and influential economic, cultural, artistic and social relationships.”

“This is just the first of many museum exhibitions to come in our new Rosecliff gallery space,” said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe.  “We will now be able to expand and enhance our interpretation of Newport’s architecture, landscapes, and social history because we will have space to show objects not just from our own collections but also loans from other museums that relate to the Newport story.”

Among the pieces on display during Newport and Her Southern Sisters will be an 18th century mahogany chest on stand from Hunter House, attributed to the workshops of Townsend & Goddard here in Newport.  It will be shown in two pieces–the way it would have been stored on a ship when it was sent to the Southern market.

The antebellum period will be shown as a parlor, and will explore how boarding houses gave way to the hotel boom in Newport, which then led to private cottages built by Southerners who fueled Newport’s taste for luxury.  It will feature several pieces of furniture and a silver tea service descended through the families that lived at Kingscote.

After the Civil War, marriages between Southern belles and Yankee gentlemen led to the construction of the opulent mansions of the Gilded Age.  Finally, in the 20th century, fashionable Newporters looking for a new winter playground headed south to help create Palm Beach style.

The exhibition will be housed in the spacious upstairs hallway, sitting room and two guest bedrooms at Rosecliff where climate and U/V light control, electrical systems and fire suppression systems have recently been upgraded.  The upgrades will not only allow the Preservation Society to borrow and to present objects from other accredited museums, but will improve the care and safety of our permanent collections and ensure the continued preservation of the building.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history.  Its 11 historic properties–seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.


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Historic Newport Mansions Reopen for 2015, Unveil Schedule of Special Events

The Breakers, the Vanderbilts' Gilded Age mansion in Newport, RI © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ Gilded Age mansion in Newport, RI © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Newport, RI –  As of Friday, February 13, three Newport Mansions are open daily for tours for the rest of the year. The Breakers (1895), The Elms (1901) and Marble House (1892).

On March 13, two additional houses–Chateau-sur-Mer (1852) and Rosecliff (1902)–will open for the season.  Kingscote (1841), Green Animals Topiary Garden (c.1860),  Hunter House (c.1748), Isaac Bell House (1883) and  Chepstow (1861) will open on May 23.

New this year will be a revised guided tour of  Rosecliff, combining information about the history of the house and its creators, with reminiscences by its last private owners who donated it to the Preservation Society.

Special Events

The following special events are currently scheduled at the Newport Mansions (visit www.NewportMansions.org for updated event listings and details):

            March 7-8:  Newport’s Island Moving Company performs Mother Goose at Rosecliff, an enchanting children’s ballet.

March 19:  The lecture “Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies” is presented at Rosecliff.  Author Lawrence Goldstone tells the story of the feud between the nation’s great air pioneers.

April 4: The Easter Bunny visits Rosecliff for the annual Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch, now in its 26th year. Enjoy eggs, candy, prizes and a scrumptious seated brunch.

            April 26-29: The 23rd annual Newport Symposium, “North and South: Crosscurrents in American Material Culture,” invites a fresh look at regional differences in American furnishings, silver, textiles, painting, architecture, and interiors to reveal the complex exchange of ideas and enduring influences.

May 16: Just in time for planting your garden and sprucing up the indoors, stop by our annual Plant Sale at Green Animals Topiary Garden for specialty plants and garden accessories.

June 11:  Preservation Society members are invited to the Annual Meeting.

June 19-21: The Newport Flower Show will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the theme “American Beauty, Timeless Style” at Rosecliff.  Long before it became home to the Newport Flower Show, Rosecliff was the birthplace of the American Beauty Rose. This iconic flower, which became a symbol of excellence, is the inspiration for our 20th anniversary.  Join us to celebrate the classic and timeless style of the American Beauty. Enjoy floral designs, horticulture exhibits, garden displays and more. The exciting Opening Night Party on June 19 will feature a cocktail buffet, live music, a seaside supper and other entertaining surprises.           

            July 9:  The Angela Moore Fashion Show & Brunch returns to Rosecliff.

            July 14: The Green Animals Children’s Party invites children and adults alike to frolic in the whimsical and historic topiary garden overlooking Narragansett Bay in Portsmouth, with music, rides, food and fun.

            August 10: The Preservation Society’s annual Golf Outing  takes place at Newport National Golf Club.  The event includes tee prizes for all golfers, lunch and refreshments on the course, cocktails and a light supper after golf, awards and live and silent auctions.

August 20-23: A Weekend of Coaching makes its triennial return to Newport.  Authentic 19th century coaches drawn by matched and highly-trained teams of horses will be on display as they drive through the streets of Newport and the grounds of the Newport Mansions, celebrating and preserving a century-old sporting tradition. The weekend’s events include a free coaching exhibition on the lawn of The Elms on Saturday, August 22, and a black-tie dinner dance at The Breakers that night.

September 25-27: The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival returns for its 10th year to Marble House, Rosecliff and The Elms. Among the celebrity guests will be Jacques and Claudine Pépin. The weekend features a two-day Grand Tasting at Marble House with hundreds of wines, cooking demonstrations from national and regional chefs, a gala celebration at Rosecliff, a collectible wine dinner at The Elms, plus seminars, auctions, and more.

November 21-January 3, 2016: Christmas at the Newport Mansions is celebrated at The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House.

Visit www.NewportMansions.org or call 401-847-1000 for details about the operating schedule,  event information and reservations, and ticket prices.  Operating schedule and events calendar are subject to change.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts.  Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

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