Winterthur, the du Pont family home, is huge with six floors of amazing antiques, culture, lifestyle and family. The imposing exterior gives no clue into it’s interior, except that it must be formidable.
The house tour is simply too big and with too many informative moving parts to do it justice. So here’s just glimpse into what awaits when you get your tickets. Here we are staring in the main dining room. This central room to the du Pont entertaining lifestyle was decorated by Henry du Pont himself. This was the formal room where dinners were served. Most of them began with Diamond Back Terrapin soup which was du Pont’s favorite.
The du Pont dining room is full of patriotic items from paintings to tankards made by Paul Revere.One of my favorite paintings at Winterthur hangs here in the dinning room. It is Benjamin’s West’s portrait of American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Negotiations with Great Britain.
What is really neat about the household management is how it is divided in many cases by room. The candle room is a perfect example of this. It’s a shame the tour goes so quickly because I would have loved to have lingered and seen more details within the collections.
Winterthur is also home to many historic plate collections. This set was Martha Washington’s.
One of the great collections for me is all the tea sets! A great tea is hard to find.
The other interesting serving set-ups are the ones used for the du Pont’s caviar, a favorite for parties here. The table is set with cigarettes, martinis and of course the plates for the warm toast points.
The du Pont’s were big on entertaining as you can see. Part of that was turning the interior courtyard into the feel of a public square by filling it with a collection of American house facades. The du Pont’s then used this area to show movies at home.
The facades here are an amazing collection that were taken down from their various locations from North Carolina, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. and Delaware and rebuilt brick by brick within this large room.
Another family room is the Marlboro Room. According to Winterthur it’s, “paneling and most objects… are more than 200 years old” This room however was used as the modern living room where people would gather to talk and take tea. It was also where everyone would gather each year to open their Christmas presents.
Yet another gathering spot is the Chinese Parlor room which is covered with Chinese, hand-painted wall paper from the 1700’s. The wall paper is as originally created in size and not cut. The area over the doors and windows were hand painted to the continue the look of the paper, as though uninterrupted.
Among other things, this room is where card games were held.
One of the big features of the house is the grand Montmorenci stairwell. Du Pont purchased the tremendous 1822 stairwell from the home Montmorenci in North Carolina and had it reinstalled here at Winterthur. The stairwell goes up numerous flights and must be amazing to look down through!
We also get a first hand look into the daily private area of the du Ponts, including their bedrooms and private rooms. They had rather simple rooms for these areas in comparison to those open for quests.
The Empire room features the beauty of Empire styled furniture and other decorative items. The music instruments and chairs are wonderful.
If memory serves, it was in this room I turned to find the amazing John Trumble portrait of George Washington, the other of my favorite paintings here. It is of George Washington with his horse as he inspects the troops at Verplank’s Point in 1782.
Well there is so much more but alas, a bit under the weather today and it is getting late. This Bee needs her sleep. For more information regarding the amazing house, museum and gardens that are Winterthur, visit http://www.winterthur.org
Britt : )