Beauport, The Sleeper-McCann House, was the summer home of interior designer Henry Davis Sleeper. It captivates the imagination not only because of its dramatic location on Eastern Point in Gloucester Harbor but because of its wit. Filled with room after room of delightful objects meant to astonish and amuse, Beauport is an intellectual fun house originally designed over a century ago to entertain such luminaries as European art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner, Harvard economics professor A. Piatt Andrew, heiress Caroline Sinkler, and Okakura Kakuzo, curator of Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts and author of “The Book of Tea.”
In modern terms, Sleeper was a master recycler, recreating America’s colonial past using doors, panels, beams, and floorboards rescued from derelict early New England homes. His ingenious use of farm-house furnishings, pottery, glassware, baskets, and tools sparked Henry Francis du Pont’s interest in Americana which culminated in the establishment of the Winterthur Museum. Even house guests as wealthy as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. appreciated the atmosphere of elegance that Sleeper was able to create with materials often obtained from salvage dealers.
Starting in the fall of 2008 and continuing through 2011, Beauport is undergoing an extensive restoration and preservation plan in order to rectify water infiltration issues that continue to plague the building. This work is an expansion of a 2006 Getty Conservation Assessment that outlined points of water penetration, structural abnormalities, and repair options. The work is partially funded by the Save America’s Treasures grant program and the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, but both grants require matching funds.
Please Help Us Continue to Fund This Project!
Make a matching contribution to the Save America’s Treasures grant so that we can continue the much needed work at Beauport. Please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617.994.5952 for more information. Thank you!