Historic Structures

Linden Gate Mansion (Henry G. Marquand House), Newport Rhode Island

Date added: August 24, 2010 Categories: Rhode Island House

Designed in 1872 by Richard Morris Hunt, the house exhibited an unusual combination of materials and textures. This house was the only surviving example of a series of houses designed and erected in Newport by Hunt in this style.

Henry G. Marquand was the second president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. On 23 January 1903, a famous auction of his important collection was held in this house.

In 1883, the interiors of the house were remodeled, the dining rooms enlarged and probably also the service wing at this same time. All of this work appears to have been done by Richard Morris Hunt. A brick lodge was added in 1883 at the north east corner of the estate. In 1913, the music room was added to east and another entrance opened to the south. It was at this time that the wrought iron doors were installed. Recently, the library was remodeled into a modern kitchen. Other similar alterations have permitted the house to be divided into various apartments.

Over-all dimensions: Originally 56' x 87' with present addition to the east and north; irregular plan; 2 1/2 stories.

Floor plan: To the left of the entrance hall which is on a west to east axis is located the original reception room, now an office. Behind the reception room was the service hall on a northsouth axis which contains the stairway. At the east end of the hall are glazed wrought iron doors that open to an apartment hall with the original dining room to the left. These doors were further to the east, opening directly to the music room. On the right side of the entrance hall were located the parlor and library. The bedrooms on the second and third floor repeat the arrangement of the first floor.

Special decorative features: On the north, west and and south walls of the reception room are twelve carved low relief panels about eighteen inches wide by fifteen inches high. Two panels on the north wall are of cast bronze. These two panels are signed and date,. "1890 J. T. Hill." The wooden panel scenes of daily farm life in antique dress are only signed by Kill. A landscape painting by an unknown artist is centered in the overmantel. The carved panels surrounding the painting are by Luigi Frullini and signed. At the right end of the long rectangular panel above the mantel is a carved rendering of the house dating after the addition to the service wing. This detail suggests that the decoration of the reception room dates from the remodelling by Hunt of 1883. The fireplace has a marble and tile surround with a marble hearth. A colored glass window with brass mullions is centered above the parlor fireplace. The abstracted floral design in pale opalescent glass is similar in style to the early work of John La Farge. This window was back lighted by a skylight-topped light shaft with mirror that reflected light through the window. The Neo-Grec style of the mantel is like Hunt's handling of the porte cochere at Chateau-sur-Mer. A polished black stove is used for the surround. In the altered library, a later fireplace has a Mediterranean tile surround with English hearth tiles. The windows on the west wall of the parlor and the south wall of the library had shutters that slid into lead lined wall pockets. Elaborately detailed cabinets line the side walls of the window in the parlor. Above the cabinets are panels of variously patterned silks arranged in a geometric configuration. At the first landing of the stairway was a stained glass window.