chateau sur mer newport

Newport Mansions Summer Lecture Series Opens With Look Back at Newport Villas

Long before the Vanderbilts constructed vast Gilded Age mansions like Marble House and The Breakers, wealthy seasonal visitors to Newport resided in smaller but lavish summer cottages that showcased an array of architectural styles.

This fascinating span of Newport history will be the subject of the David W. Dangremond Lecture, presented by scholar and author Michael C. Kathrens, on Thursday, July 13, from 6-7 p.m. at Marble House. A limited number of in-person tickets remain, and this lecture can also be viewed on Zoom. Visit to learn more and register.

Kathrens’ newest book, “Newport Cottages 1835-1890: The Summer Villas Before the Vanderbilt Era,” offers a beautifully illustrated exploration of magnificent houses from the period, discussing the ownership histories, original structures and later renovations of these houses, including Chateau-sur-Mer and the original Breakers. The book is currently on sale at, and it can also be purchased together with tickets or at the lecture. The author will sign copies during the reception.

The Summer Lecture Series continues Thursday, July 20, from 6-7 p.m. at Marble House, as Gary Lawrance will present the David B. and Pamela Ford Lecture, “Newport Mansions: The Age of Opulence.” Architect, author and historian, Lawrance is also the founder of, manages and contributes to the very successful social media sites “Mansions of the Gilded Age” and “The Gilded Age Society” on Facebook and Instagram, with a combined following of more than half a million.

In this lecture, he will explore the grand architecture of Newport that reflected the city’s height as the summer destination for society’s prosperous class. By the 1890s, the great wealth generated by the Industrial Revolution enabled the creation of a new American architectural trend: opulence. Inspired by centuries-old European estates, the new Newport mansions were the pleasure palaces of American royalty. As the “Queen of Resorts,” Newport and its houses came to define the Gilded Age.

These lectures can be attended in person at Marble House or via Zoom, but registration is required. In-person attendance costs $15 for Preservation Society members, $20 for non-members. Zoom is free for members, $10 for non-members. Go to for more information, and to register.




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