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Lecture: New Discoveries II

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Avenue, Newport
11:00 a.m.

The Peter & Eaddo Kiernan Lecture

Two of the Preservation Society’s 2017 Research Fellows will discuss their work.

100 Years at Chateau-sur-Mer: Reevaluating One of Newport’s Longest-Lived Gilded Age Mansions

Hannah Kaemmer, Fellow

Unlike many of its Gilded Age peers in Newport, Chateau-sur-Mer was continuously occupied by a single family for over 100 years. Built in 1852, the house predated most of Newport’s mansions; occupied until 1966, it outlasted nearly all. The house therefore survives as a unique snapshot of Newport before, during, and after the Gilded Age. At the same time, it records one family’s evolving identity across three generations in the context of a changing Newport.Built by Seth Bradford for the retired China trade merchant William Shepard Wetmore, Chateau-sur-Mer was later renovated and redecorated by such influential architects and designers as Richard Morris Hunt, Ogden Codman, John Russell Pope, and the Olmsted Brothers. New research adds to our understanding of the multitude of ways in which the Wetmore family constructed, rebuilt, adapted, and preserved the house to reflect changing fashions, social pressures, technologies, and, most importantly, their own personal taste and identity.

Hannah Kaemmer holds an M.A. in the Archaeology of Buildings from the University of York, and a B.A. in History from Williams College. Her research has focused on the use of architectural space to construct identity and the reuse of domestic space in changing cultural contexts, especially in early modern England. In the fall, Hannah will start a PhD program in architectural history at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Designing Distinction: “Comfort & Enlightenment” in Gilded Age Bathrooms

Laura Jenkins, Fellow

What is the Gilded Age bathroom? How is it arranged and decorated? Who designs it? Who gets to use it, and when? How does it relate to other, historical bathing spaces and practices? And, finally, why does it matter? Focusing on mansion houses in New York and Newport, this presentation will expand the interpretation of ‘comfort and convenience’ in the technologically modern American house by considering the added element of ‘enlightenment’ in the development of a luxury bathroom type.

Laura Jenkins holds a master’s degree in Fine and Decorative Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art – London, and a B.A. in Art History from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her previous research has focused on George Washington Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and on the American mansion as a modern successor to the traditional English country house.

Admission is free for Preservation Society members, $5 for the general public. Advance registration is required. Register online, or call 401-847-1851.