Remember when I asked you to guess which Newport mansion I planned on visiting this summer based on My favorite historical show?
It was Downtown Abby!!
My newfound tv show binge led me to tour The Elms of Newport and take the backstage Servant Life Tour.
Come along with me as I take you on a tour of a Modern turn of the century mansion! And following this blog, will be of The Servant Life Tour!
Is this modern lavish mansion, huh hem, excuse me, Summer Cottage in Newport, RI the home of Lady Crawley’s mother, Grand ma ma (Martha)? Downton Abby sets her home in America as among the Bellevue high society.
(Pictured with me is my nephew who enjoys history and antiques as well! He tags along every year we visit Newport. I love to see young people appreciate the good ol’ days!)
Since the construction of The Elms was finished at the turn of the century and came furnished with modern amenities such as the first electric ice maker and electricity, The Preservation Society of Newport likens this particular cottage to Downton.
Remember when Mrs. Patmore got all worked up at Daisy for using a mixer? I would imagine the Bellevue society would think highly of the mixer in America!
This spectacular home is one of the first modern homes on Bellevue. Electricity took the place of the flickering flamed candelabras. They grouped them together for brighter lighting because still yet at the turn of the century, one light bulb was as bright as a 10 watt bulb. In order to take advantage of the new age lighting, the interior designer grouped candelabra’s with bulbs instead of candles by mirrors and windows to help reflect light.
Lights had to be lowered just above the head because of the low wattage. See how dark it still is in that bathroom?
The Elms was Modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.
“Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1.4 million. The interiors and furnishings were designed by Allard and Sons of Paris and were the setting for the Berwinds’ collection of Renaissance ceramics, 18th century French and Venetian paintings, and Oriental jades.” I believe I watched a video where Lady Carnarvon showcased a desk once owned by Napoleonin the Highclere Castle (Downton Abby).
Now, that’s a real deal antique!
(This is the jade collection. Did you know there are different shades of jade? Pink, red, colbat…it’s not just a light green color.)
The elaborate Classical Revival gardens on the grounds were developed between 1907 and 1914.” -NewportMansions.org
Unfortunately, the day I went it was raining and I wasn’t able to view the grounds and the gardens but they are gorgeous and the next time I go back I will definitely visit them!
One of my favorite rooms that gave you an illusion you were outside and overlooked the gardens was the sunroom. It was gorgeous and aside from sunroom in the National Museum of American Illistration that was peacock themed, it is my favorite!
There were so many things I enjoyed about this house! It, no doubt of all the summer cottages is my favorite so far!!
This house made me like things I normally don’t like. Like the color red. This red damask wall covering was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. It shimmered off the walls, down the hall into the library. It reminds me of Mr. Crawley’s Library with the large library desk where he would write and send notes from. Look at that Rich red!!
What a coffered ceiling huh? I love the green pallet the designer used throughout the home! This room featured ebony embossed Oriental art. See the dragon rug and the blue and white pottery showcased on the credenzas?
What’s amazing about this particular cottage is it stayed in operation until the 60’s. Just as in Downtown Abby, the end of the Victorian era here in America marked the modern age and called for less footman, ladies maids, and house employees. The lady of the house, Julia, was still able to employ servants up to that time.
How do you love that modern flapper hat and fur? This is her bathroom. The fanciest toilet I’ve ever seen in wicker! 😉
“Oh Mr. Bates! We’ll be needing your assistance!” See the valet button?
In one of the upstairs hallways was bedding from Marie Antoinette in a glass case! You couldn’t help but stare at the beautiful lavender silk fabric. The fabric isn’t lavender anymore, but wow, just wow!!
So much of this house reminded me of Highclere Castle where Downtown was shot. All the ornate furniture which of course is not original because of it being auctioned off in the 60’s. But most of its furnishings remind you of something you’d see on Downton.
You can follow The Countess of Carnarvon’s Blog of Highclere here:
She covers so many historical facts about Heighclere.
I think Biltmore Estates also has a Downton Abby Exhibition showcasing some of the fashions and historic events of the time!
So this Friday Downtown Abby opens here in America! So excited because the Queen is coming! It’s bittersweet to think this is the end for such a wonderful historical drama!If you ever get a chance to visit Newport, and you are needing some Downton nostalgia, visit The Elms!
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