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An Aristocrat in Hyde Park

By Linda Tancs

The Vanderbilt Mansion at Hyde Park, New York, was a seasonal residence and part of a portfolio of properties occupied by Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt. One of America’s wealthiest families, the manor’s design is very much in keeping with the opulence that defines Gilded Age country houses. The mansion itself is described as a Beaux-Arts interpretation of the Italian Renaissance. Inside, the rooms are lavishly decorated with exotic wood paneling, imported marble, lush velvets, French tapestries, and, as was the custom, antique building components salvaged from the great houses of Europe. Boasting original furnishings, a centerpiece of the estate is Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom. A recreation of a French royal bedroom, it features a canopied state bed, raised on a dais against a wall and separated from the rest of the room by a partition of raised columns with curvilinear balustrade, an architectural convention borrowed from many European royal palaces. Access to the mansion, a National Historic Site, is by guided tour only.

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