Friday, April 18, 2008

Chic Events Underway at Winterthur

Exciting things are happening at Winterthur, that glorious Delaware estate of the late Henry Frances du Pont. And for all of us who are interested in design and decorative arts, the events should be right up our alley!

First up is the
Double Vision exhibit (March 8-May 18, 2008) which focuses on the design of Winterthur during the 1930's. Why is it named "Double Vision" you ask? Well, Winterthur has an amazing collection of stereographs (three-dimensional images) that were taken of the rooms at Winterthur in 1935 and 1938. Visitors will be able to wear special 3-D glasses to view the stereographs, which I can only imagine will make one feel as if he were actually in the room. Some of the rooms remain the same today, while others have changed over the years. It should be interesting to see how 1930's trends may have influenced du Pont's design choices.

And for even more on 1930's design, you should consider attending the
"Chic It Up!" design conference, to be held at Winterthur on May 16-17, 2008. Frances Elkins, 1930's textiles, and Delano & Aldrich are just a few of the topics that will be covered. Speakers include Peter Pennoyer, Stephen Salny, R. Louis Bofferding, J. Thomas Savage, and Eric Cohler. Sounds like a stellar line-up to me!

For more information, visit
Winterthur's website.

Chinese Parlor: In this large room guests would gather to play bridge or for drinks before dinner. Chinese hand-painted wallpaper was the height of exotic fashion in the 1930s. The room was always filled with flowers selected to complement the colors of the wallpaper. (Photo: Courtesy, Winterthur Archives)

White Parlor (Empire Parlor): Long before he discovered Americana, H.F. du Pont admired and collected French furniture and decorative arts. Many of the furnishings in this view came from the family's New York apartment. Perhaps as a nod to the family's ancestry, The White Parlor at Winterthur remained furnished in the French taste until the space became the Empire Parlor in 1940. (Photo: Courtesy, Winterthur Archives)

Port Royal Parlor: The 18th century furniture and paneling in this room, which served as the reception room for guests, is meant to suggest the colonial era. However, the abundance of notable pieces and the expanded size of the room taken from a house near Philadelphia are more in the 30s mode. This large room demonstrates du Pont's preference for symmetry and careful placement of furniture. (Photo: Courtesy, Winterthur Archives)

The Enclosed Porch: Many country houses featured an open loggia or arcade overlooking a terrace or garden. They provided a shady refuge on a warm, sunny day, or shelter on a slightly chilly one. The checkerboard patterned floor, the pale blue iron chairs and yellow bamboo, the urns and bright accent of the flowers all reflect popular 1930s style. (Photo: Courtesy, Winterthur Archives)

Image at top: Henry Francis du Pont was photographed in front of the Montmorenci staircase, the centerpoint of his revision of the house. (Photo by André Kertész; Courtesy, Winterthur Archives).


  1. Anonymous9:56 AM

    great blog!

  2. It's only a few hours away and I've yet to be to Winterthur! It's on my list! This would be a fun exhibit to see!

  3. Oh this is great to know. Love the Chinese Parlor.

  4. My mother has an old stereograph, but I can't look at the images, because they give me vertigo for some reason! Anyway, I'd prefer to see this in person...looks beautiful.

  5. Cashmere- Oh dear, vertigo! Yes, then you should definitely go see it in person!

  6. Anonymous1:20 PM

    That first picture gives me the heebee-jeebies! Reminds me of the movie Rebecca...


  7. PT- Is it the staircase? I haven't seen Rebecca in years and years. I obviously need to rent it.

  8. The best thing is the steeplechase races there later in the spring!

  9. Peak, your so chic.The Montmorenci staircase deserves a whole post. Just imagine," The Best Staircases." Don't forget Chambord. Have a great week.

  10. Oh wow! I love the checkered flooring! Gorgeous place.