Monthly Archives: October 2009

Collections On The Go

amethyst glass windowThe house may have closed for the season on October 15, but you can still get your Beauport fix this winter.  

Sleeper was known for his distinctive collections of objects placed in specific arrangements throughout the house.  This year, one of these arrangements will be disassembled and shipped to New York as part of the 2010 Winter Antiques Show.  The ‘amethyst window’ arrangement, which is set within a passageway from the Octagon Room to the Golden Step Room, features different shapes and sizes of amethyst glass set within a Gothic window. 

The Winter Antiques Show in New York is one of America’s most prestigious venues for fine and decorative arts. Founded in 1954 to benefit the East Side House Settlement, a social service organization supporting families and community development, the Winter Antiques Show has long set the standard for antiques shows nationwide. It sparked the creation of “Americana Week” in New York, where exhibits, auctions and events celebrate collecting. Attracting top American and international dealers and celebrity crowds, the 56th Winter Antiques Show will be held from January 22 to 31, 2010, at the National Historic Landmark Park Avenue Armory in New York City, with the celebrated opening night party on Thursday, January 21.

In celebration of Historic New England’s centennial, the 2010 exhibition will be Colonial to Modern: A Century of Collecting at Historic New England. In keeping with the antiques and works of art showcased at the show, where each object is authenticated by a committee of 160 experts and range in date from antiquity to 1969, Historic New England will present a survey exhibit showing some of the finest objects from our collection of nearly four hundred years of New England heritage. Our focus will be great objects with great stories – such as the Quincy family’s Boston-made Japanned high chest, a 1735-45 tour de force of furniture, which comes from one of New England’s most influential families and has survived two fires.

Historic New England has long been active at the Winter Antiques Show, working with dealers who support our collecting efforts, and hosting an annual reception for Appleton Circle members at a different private home or collection each year. For 2010, the organization’s involvement will be expanded with participation at the opening night party and through a series of lectures about our properties, collections and work, which will be offered for the public in the historic Veterans Room, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and fellow members of Associated Artists.

Major donors to Historic New England’s centennial initiatives or this exhibition will receive Winter Antiques Show tickets allowing the highest level of access to the show. For more information on special donor opportunities, opening night festivities, and other events, please contact the development office at development@HistoricNewEngland.org or at 617-227-3956.

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The Elegance of Masonry

beauport exteriorBeauport is over 14,000 square feet, with over 40 rooms, and home to over 5,500 pieces of American and European art.  Amongst what may appear to be  only whimisical and eccentric nooks, is an elegance of style–not only on the interior but also in the overall architecture of the building.  

 We know from historic documents that Sleeper was very involved with the layout and design of the house even down to the dovecote over the Franklin Game Room.  He worked with a local architect, Hafdon M. Hanson (1884-1952), for over twenty-seven years to establish the building that exists today.   

Beauport has its own unique architectural style, borrowing from Shingle, Queen Anne, Colonial, and various European revival styles.  Early photographs and Hanson’s architectural drawings show that Beauport began as a wood-framed, L-shaped cottage, covered with stucco on the first story and shingled walls on the second with a foundation of irregularly coursed un-cut fieldstone.  In 1913 Sleeper reinforced the stone foundation with concrete and covered most of the remaining stucco with a brick veneer, which was more fashionable at the time, in an English bond pattern.  Later additions were constructed with the same un-cut, irregular fieldstone as the foundation.  But one of the most distinctive pieces to the exterior of the house are the brick chimneys–six of them to be exact–in various shapes and sizes.   

The 1907 “Little Beauport” began with two chimneys, the Bishops Cap chimney, so named due to the distinctive concrete top and the Potted Chimney that included two clay pots as caps.  These were simple chimneys with mostly square bases and minor brick corbelling.  In 1912, Sleeper extended the house to the east and constructed the Belfry Chamber, Chapel Chamber, and Linebrook Parish Room, which included the Spiral Chimney.  This chimney has a large square brick base and four ‘candy cane’ like towers, surrounded by a parging material, extending from it.   The bricks on the towers are laid at a diagonal, in the round, and in opposite directions of each other creating an interesting pattern.   Following his mother’s death in 1917, Sleeper installed the Pine Kitchen or Pembrooke Room in her honor.  The room included wood paneling from her ancestrial home and a large cooking fireplace, which exhausted through the Drum Chimney.  This chimney has a high tower with three distinctive levels and closed and open gothic brick patterns that make the chimney appear drum-like.  Also during 1917, Sleeper installed the Franklin Game Room and the Herringbone Chimney, which is long and thin and includes a diagonal herringbone brick pattern at the top.  The last chimney was installed in 1921 for the Golden Step and Master Mariner’s Room.  The Gothic Chimney has a massive, square, brick base with outlines in the shape of a large Gothic window.

Currently, there are several leaks at the chimneys.  Lead flashing has pulled away from the building allowing water to easily get in.  In the past, the lead flashing has been caulked in place, probably as an attempt to stop leaks.  Unfortunately, caulking traps moisture within the chimney and can lead to serious deterioration of the bricks and mortar joints.  As part of the overall Save America’s Treasures grant, the masonry chimneys will be restored during the spring of 2010. 

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