Thursday, June 2, 2011

XKT and Rosie Visit Nemours Mansion & Gardens. Part 13

Longwood Gardens - Part 1 Longwood Gardens - Part 2 Longwood Gardens - Part 3 Longwood Gardens - Part 4LinkLongwood Gardens - Part 5 Longwood Gardens - Part 6 Longwood Gardens - Part 7 Longwood Gardens - Part 8 Wintertour Gardens - Part 9 Interior of Winterthur - Part 10 Replica of Winterthur - Part 11 Winterthur Soup Tureens - Part 12 Heh. Within minutes of my posting this, XKT called to let me know of my faux pas. Actually she e'd me first with the subject "foe neh tic," but since I had chided her on using email instead of an immediate phone call when she sees where I've screwed up, she followed up with the phone. If you notice in one of the links above, I spelled Winterthur wrong. I spelled it Wintertour, the way it is pronounced. My bad. But since it's a funny story, (XKT wasn't sure whether or not I was messin' with her by spelling it that way. No, I wasn't. But I wish I had told her I was.) I'm leaving it the way it is. Don't ask me why there's a space between Parts 4 and 5 or why Part 11 is a different color. Blogger works in mysterious, and sometimes, confounding, ways.
XKT and Rosie are on their merry little way to
Nemours Mansion and Gardens, in Wilmington, Delaware. Nemours is a cute little modified Louis XVI chateau built in 1909-1910 by Alfred I. du Pont. The 47,000 square foot, 5-floor, 77-room mansion contains an eclectic collection of rare furniture, great art, European antiques, tapestries, Oriental rugs, and paintings, as well as several of A.I. du Pont's innovations. Guided tours are at 9 AM, 12, and 3 PM. Make reservations. When Alfred du Pont married his second wife, Alicia, in 1907, he loved showering her with gifts. By far the grandest of these was the spectacular house he built for her on a 3000 acre plot of land in Wilmington. He hired Carrere and Hastings, a prestigious New York architectural firm, to design the mansion in the late 19th century French style that Alicia loved. He named the estate Nemours, after the French town that his great-great-grandfather represented in the French Estates General. While looking to the past and his ancestors for inspiration, Alfred also ensured that his new home was thoroughly modern by incorporating the latest technology and many of his own inventions.
Our driver, Liz, whom I think would make a darn good drinking partner, is making time with the bus so's I can't get a decent picture of the wall. She tells us the story of the wall surrounding Lemours Mansion. If you click on the wall pic and squint you just might see the shards of glass embedded in the top This is to dissuade entry. Squint real hard.
Our bus deposits us at the gates of Nemours. Real gold there. These gates were originally used at Wimbledon Manor outside London. They date to the 18th century.
This is the view from the front porch at Nemours.
We are ready for our guided tour. We are called out and divided into small groups, to experience Nemours as a visitor might have. Upon entry, we were each given a carnation. Our history interpreter was one of the best I've had the opportunity to listen to. I love it when I see someone doing something which they obviously love and doing it well. NO PICS inside! pfffffffttttt But you can take a virtual tour of Nemours. Some of the highlights: a clock commissioned by Marie Antoinette a chair from Mount Vernon a chair from the coronation of King George VI hand painted Meissen jars Lalique crystal carved alabaster Ebony and Ivory birdbath with carvings given by Louis XVI 1st Century Greco-Roman tear vase (When the tears evaporate, the official mourning period is over.) Signed Tiffany peacock vase 17th century Lourdes tapestry Limoges china 18th century Italian leather screens Dining room chandelier from Marie Antoinette 16th century works of art in library Chandelier from the Marquis de Lafayette 18th century tapestries 18th century French roll top desk with inlaid mahogany, rosewood, and tulipwood Hand-blown Murano glass chandelier
The estate offers a fine example of formal French gardens.
The baroque-style gates are from Catherine the Great's palace outside St. Petersburg.
du Pont referred to them as Kate's Gates.
The largest formal French garden in North America.
Nice front yard.
The pool is about an acre.
The two marble sphinxes at the entrance were given by Louis XIV to his finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
There are two elks at the top of the Vista, the work of French sculptor Prosper Lecourtier (1855-1924), a specialist in animal figures.
The 157 jets at the center of the one-acre pool shoot water 12 feet high into the air. When they are turned off, the entire "long Walk" is reflected in the pool. The pool is five and a half feet deep in its deepest section and holds 800,000 gallons of water and takes three days to fill.
I'm curious about how they cut the grass going from terrace to terrace.
The Art Nouveau style, classical mythology-based, carerra marble "Four Seasons" around the pool are by French-born American sculptor Henri Crenier (1874-1848.) Travertine walls surround the pool.
I can't tell which seasons are which.
Achievement was designed by French sculptor Henri Crenier. It looms over the maze garden on an elevated marble vase pedestal.
This statue was recently gilded, 23 carat gold, to the tune of $850,000 plus.
Carrera marble fountain-statues of Triton face each other across the pool.
I need a gilded statue in my yard.
The pink marble urns are from the Hapsburgs of Vienna. They are from one of the many palaces of the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz-Joseph, which is appropriate as the Colonnade itself is reminiscent of the Gloriette at Schonbrunn Palace outside Vienna.
The colonnade was built as a memorial to Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours and his son Eleuthere Irenee du Pont. The Colonnade is constructed of brick faced with Indiana limestone.
At the end of the Vista is the classically-styled Temple of Love by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon with a statue of Diana.
The classically styled temple is the setting for a statue of Diana the Huntress cast by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828).
The cannon is a reproduction of the cannon from the U.S.S. Constitution - "Old Ironsides," the frigate that famously took part in the War of 1812 and other conflicts.
This is a weeping beech. When mature it will cover an acre. The branches re-root in the ground.
Brandywine blue marble throughout the woods. Taken from the bus.
The clock tower.

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