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Florida Guide > Travelling

The Mansions of Newport RI Pt 4

The Marble house was situated much further along Bellevue Avenue than the two properties we had previously visited and on our journey to the mansion we passed many other properties we would like to visit on another trip.

The Marble House, like our previous destinations is a National Historic Landmark and is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

The Marble House was commissioned by William Vanderbilt, younger brother of Cornelius Vanderbilt, for himself and his wife Alva and was completed in 1892 some three years before The Breakers. It was one of the first mansions to be built and started the transformation of Newport into the summer playground for wealthy New Yorkers.

With only 50 rooms The Marble House is smaller than The Breakers but construction costs were greater with seven million dollars being spent on the marble alone. The architecture of the property is French inspired and it' s temple front has been compared to that of the White House.

The interior of The Marble House is every bit as opulent as The Breakers, possibly even more so and decorated in the style of Louis X1V with a nod to the Greek Gods, it is built almost entirely of marble. I loved the wrought iron front doors, French Baroque in style and embellished with their owners initials V W, and Ava Vanderbilts bedroom was amazing with its lilac silk covered walls and the huge bed on a raised Dias. There were, however, other parts that I wasn' t as keen on owing to their sheer ostentatiousness and this house was probably the least favourite of the three we had visited.

The audio tour, though, was probably the best of the three with lots of information about Alva and her daughter Consuelo. Alva was a big supporter of women' s rights and did a great deal for the suffragette movement yet thought nothing of marrying her daughter off to the Duke of Marlborough (Winston Churchill' s cousin) against her daughters wishes. She sounded quite a character and I would hate to have crossed her.

After touring the house we visited the once again, large, but underwhelming grounds. It was, however, very pleasant to sit on the terrace of the Chinese tearoom at the edge of the grounds, overlooking the sea and enjoy some light refreshment.

The Chinese tea room was a later addition to the house, made by Alva Vanderbilt, by this time Alva Belmont, after her divorce from William, and it was here she hosted many rallies for women' s suffrage.

The Marble House was the final stop on our Newport mansions tour but there are still plenty of properties we would like to visit - Hunter house, Rosecliff, The Beeches and Kingscote to name but a few. A return visit is definitely on the cards for the future.

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Page added on: 10 January 2015
Viewed 1504 times since 10 January 2015.

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