Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sole Survivor (4th post of 4)
One room in this very fine house has survived virtually intact. Located in the northernmost wing, overlooking what was apparently a small walled garden on 18th St., is the original dining room. Something about those swags of plaster fruit over the mantle makes me think "mealtime." This noble chamber is painted white, but the dark ceiling makes me guess there's rare (and probably dark) hardwood paneling under the paint. Maybe walnut? After all it's on Walnut St. The dings and bullet holes of modern commerce obscure neither the superb craftsmanship, nor the excellent proportions. The "tour de force," of course, is the ceiling, a remarkable depiction of the 94 doges of Venice, each in his own gilded frame, separated from his neighbors by electric lights. Venice under the doges would seem an appropriate theme for the dining hall of an early 20th Century American financier. Despite the zany decor and the light colored paint that makes the ceiling look heavy it's a beautiful room that makes the heart ache for the rest of the house.