5.6.11

LAND'S END

One tries to avoid excess in all things.  Heaven forfend the Dilettante should ever gild a lily, post too many pictures, drink too much diet Coke, let alone say too much---so I did not include a picture, as I should have, of Land's End in the previous post about Lippitt's Castle in Newport, a grim affair erected on the rocks opposite Edith Wharton's summer retreat---one which she decamped soon after construction of the hulking affair opposite her gate on Ledge Road.  Partly I did this in the assumption that Land's End, much published, was well known enough, more so than the two successive neighboring houses that formed basis for my ramblings.

Naturally, a commenter plead for pictures of Land's End, and The Ancient, a formidable researcher, came up with many.  Such requests, and such heroic efforts, should be rewarded, and herewith, a selection of photos of Land's End, none of which I had to seek out myself.

Land's End, entrance front as originally built
Land's End entrance front after being Whartonized and Codmanized.
 Land's End was originally built in the 1860's for Samuel G. Ward, the brother of Julia Ward Howe, who was a symbol of pre-gilded age Newport, when it was a summer colony of 'nice' millionaires and high minded intellectuals, and who, like Henry James regretted the loss of the resort of simple fields and seaside verandas. The architect was John Hubbard Sturgis, who coincidentally was married Ogden Codman's aunt (and who would remodel  the Codman family home in Lincoln, also later to be done over by Ogden.   

Sam Ward, as would Edith Wharton a generation later, decamped Newport and Land's End for Lenox, Massachusetts, where he built Oakswood, one of McKim, Mead & White's finest early shingle style houses.  (Oakswood itself would be replaced by another forbidding Edwardian castle, Shadowbrook, which also went up in flames as did Lippitt's, but that is a different story).

Oakswood, Sam Ward's Lenox cottage by McKim, Mead & White
And herewith, photos of Land's End as it appeared after the 1890's remodeling by Ogden Codman---whose collaboration with Wharton led to the book which helped change the taste of fashionable America---itself looking a little dated to 21st century eyes.

Land's End, view from garden designed by Wharton's niece, Beatrix Jones, later Farrand.
Dining Room.  Most of the furnishings in these rooms can be seen in later photographs of The Mount in Lenox during Wharton's occupancy
Drawing Room, looking through to sun room
The sun room, full of sparkling light from the sea, despite the heavy Louis-Louis valances..  From the windows at right, one assumes that the sun was partially blocked by Lippitt's Castle looming on the near horizon.
Mrs. Wharton's sitting room, displaying the taste 18th century taste for all-toile rooms, revived by Codman, and enduringly popular still
The formal entrance court designed by Beatrix Jones Farrand with Trellis by Codman, replacing the rocky landscape shown in the first view of the entrance front at top of page.  In the background is the stable and coachman's house, converted by a later owner, Mrs. Oates Leiter, to a cottage known as 'The Whim'.
Much as Mrs. Wharton decried the increasing shallowness and show of Newport society, her own tastes ran to formality, and the rocky former pasture that had originally surrounded Land's End were flattened and groomed to formal lawns, as above.  (The eight preceding photos are from the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
Ocean front of Land's End today (Asergeev)
 Click HERE for an article about Land's End today.

Postscript:   Two weeks ago, I wrote a post bemoaning some serious cataloging errors in the Historic American Buildings survey.  The madness continues, as included in the Beinecke's collection of Wharton photographs is this image, cataloged as of Land's End, but in fact of the August Belmont cottage, By-the-Sea, on Bellevue Avenue.



9 comments:

The Ancient said...

Notice how Codman's rather ungainly porte-cochère has been retracted in the current version of the house.

Reggie Darling said...

Not an entirely successful renovation of the house by Mrs. Wharton and Mr. Codman, in my view. I actually prefer the original. And that's from someone who is a great admirer of both the lady and her tastemaker architect. It appears to me like so many "tastefully" Colonialized Victorians one sees. But better, of course!

The Devoted Classicist said...

D.E.D., thanks to you and The Ancient for such an interesting post. The retracted porte cochere is indeed aesthetically more pleasing even if less functional. It still looks like a comfortable house, and still attractive despite some Wharton/Codman loses. (I won't go into the dueling floral fabrics on sofas in the Anthony Browne scheme, though).

Anonymous said...

Delightful Newport posts all around. I have always been rather partial to the much maligned taste of poor Edith's mother, Lucretia Rhinelander Jones - pictures of her Newport and New York homes I find charming . . . (don't tell Ms. Wharton). KDM

The Ancient said...

If you walk past the house a couple hundred feet, this is your view.

The Ancient said...

One last thing: The carriage house has been made into a residence, now occupied by Oatsie Charles, who previously lived at Land's End. (Her daughter and son-in-law live there now.)

Oatsie's garden looks like this.

ChipSF said...

Down East & Ancient -
Thanks for the Land's End pictures!

Quite a contrast with Breakwater (& you are right so much lesser-know I hadn't even heard of it). It is good to see that Land's End has survived as well as it has.

The Devoted Classicist said...

The garden at The Whim is charming! Thanks again.

Mike said...

I love old retro homes. They just don't build homes like they use to.