Wednesday, October 26, 2011

'Meudon' Special Part 1

A special collection of photographs of 'Meudon', the William D. Guthrie estate designed by C.P.H. Gilbert c. 1900 in Lattingtown. Click HERE and HERE for more on 'Meudon' and HERE to see what remains today. Click HERE to see where 'Meudon' stood on google earth. These incredible photographs (along with Part 2 tomorrow) were provided by Annie Clark-Durkin via Patricia Lu. I can't thank the two of them enough.





21 comments:

Doug Floor Plan said...

Great pictures – much thanks to everyone to who made them possible here. Having said that I’ll repeat my comment from yesterday that this house, although huge & grand, is not that appealing & these photos from the sea side support that – why have symmetrical wings & lawn/gardens, but not symmetrical windows? It just seems off (to me). My favorite picture is of the gardener in the garden because those look like grass clippings along the walk, which reminded me of a time before weed-eaters when the edges of lawns where hand-trimmed with shears (shudder).

magnus said...

Really great photos of a house that was very badly served by the addition of those awkward wings. Amazing to think that William Guthrie, whose household consisted of three people, would have felt the need to add to an already enormous house.

Another note here that you often see in photos of gardens of this era (Pembroke is a prime example): Massive architectural effects combined with ditzy little plantings, totally out of scale and spirit with the desired effect. I wonder if the owner and his superintendant/head gardener, with the typical layman's abhorrence of an empty space, didn't add these little effects after the landscape architect left.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Nope. Those 'little effects' are all clearly shown in the landscape architect's rendering from yesterday. Something interesting to ponder is that Guthrie, with apparently unlimited money to spend, just didn't hire the best talent. Think of Oheka, or Whitemarsh Hall, where proportions, detail, and integration of designed landscape to house and site are superb, whereas here, the ambitious scheme is just superimposed upon the land. Don't misunderstand me---there are some good moments, but clearly there's a reason we never heard much of this firm. No Olmstead Brothers, Beatrix Farrand, or Feruccio Vitale they. And C.P.H. Gilbert was no Trumbauer or Delano.

Nevertheless, these photographs are just marvelous to see, and bring the place to life.

Old Grey Dog said...

When enlarged, the second photo of Meudon ( noted as "Meudon 6" ) shows that the construction of the added wing, on the right side, is still on-going. There is staging, or wooden cranes, visible off to its side ! Hmmm !!!

Anonymous said...

Great photos showing the just completed west wing, but the whole definitely was compromised by the enormous wings added to the original mansion. Still love the garden terraces and the original scale of the mansion, pre-expansion. But, have to say I am a fan of CPH Gilbert. Love Pembroke and Winfield. Both are outstanding "over the top" showplaces that new moneyed clients like Delamar and Guthrie and Woolworth would want to build to show off their newly minted wealth, plus the gardens at Pembroke and Winfield were beautiful in later photos when the plantings matured. Also architects like Stanford White and Richard Morris Hunt were society architects, very much moving in the same social circles as the moneyed elite and although the Vanderbilts and Astors, etc. might have made their money just 20 years earlier, they obviously condoned snobbery and elitism when a "new money" individual like Guthrie entered the scene. Many were just tolerated, but never accepted. I think an old post about the Aldreds of Ormston House calling the "old moneyed" Bakers summed it up perfectly. I am sure the Bakers, in their elegant Georgian mansion in Glen Cove were horrifed when Aldred and Guthrie and Woolworth moved into the neighborhood and built their showy spreads. Probably were considered the Mcnansions of their day by the self-appointed ruling class. Thanks for the new views of this estate.

The Ancient said...

It doesn't look so under-planted in this shot:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Xnh7xU1ehnI/TKnoDEi-BII/AAAAAAAAAvY/qeIyuqqKzgI/s1600/Meudon+Aerial-1.jpg

Anonymous said...

These photos are amazing!!! Thank you so much. Again I disagree. Though I feel the added wings are not neccessary, I don't feel they condemn this mansion as unworthy. Can I ask with the new addition was the terrace to the side of the front entry lost?

I also love the work of Gilbert, especially "Pembroke", one of my all time favorites.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Do we have dates for these photos?

http://www.oldlongisland.com/2009/07/meudon-interiors.html

I wouldn't turn it down and I like the the interiors{I know, I know.) Is Monica Randall the only other source for interiors photos?

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Speaking of - Happy Halloween_

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f34CFKNVXmw&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

magnus said...

My guess is that the additions made to Meudon took place in the early 1920's, by which time the interiors shown in HPHS' link would have been considered hopelessly old fashioned. I wonder if the work on the additions didn't also include a substantial alteration of the interiors of the existing main block. Perhaps we will never know.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Just came back for another look---such compelling photographs---love the one from the shore. Thanks from happy readers to your sources.

Interesting to compare Meudon with the Aldred place. Although in very differing styles, Aldred's is in every way a masterpiece.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

http://tclf.org/pioneer/brinley-holbrook

From SPLIA - "Sometime between 1902 and 1906, the east wing of the house was expanded". It was a service wing addition.

Does The Ancient have a date for her photo?

Looking at all the photos you can tell today's are early with the sparse growth of the new plantings. In later photos trees are much taller and the ivy has covered the first terrace close to the house.

Patricia said...

I know what's coming tomorrow and you are in for a treat. My favorite photo of the group is in tomorrow's. If staring at a photo long enough could enable you to transport yourself inside of the photo, I would have spent a lovely afternoon (or two, three, four) at Meudon.

I spent a good hour today playing on Ancestry.com looking at the Guthries on the various censuses, looking at his and Ella's name on passenger lists (Aquitania, Majestic, La Provence, to name a few of the ships they traveled on).

I saw his original passport application from 1894 where he was going to be traveling with Ella for four months. The detail that surprised me the most is that he was born in San Francisco -- in 1859. Ella was born in New York.

In the 1920 census, at the house at 28 Park, they have ten servants in residence: five maids, one houseman, one laundress, two butlers and a chef.

Stand by for tomorrow's wonderful images.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I didn't word it correctly, maybe it's not considered a terrance. But from this photo

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_OlaVeajrP30/S0cnNRLvEuI/AAAAAAAAEws/1bmYocfrHuM/s1600-h/Meudon1.jpg


Is that porch-walk-way type structure from the earlier version of the house, or after the addition? Patricia, maybe you would remember if it still stood while you were there.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Anon 7:47PM, I would call that structure a pergola; & the photo you provided a link to was taken before the wing was added to that side of the house. It disappeared afterward, which is a shame because the house looked much better (to me) & was no doubt much more manageable before expansion(s).

Anonymous said...

DFP, thank you. That is a shame, now I change my opinion about the addition not being so bad.

Patricia said...

Anon wrote: Patricia, maybe you would remember if it still stood while you were there.

I'll defer to Annie on that one as it was her backyard. I only came over to her house to play, and my memories of playing in and around the mansion are vague. Oh to have a time machine!

The Ancient said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

TA - your link connected photo -

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Xnh7xU1ehnI/TKnoDEi-BII/AAAAAAAAAvY/qeIyuqqKzgI/s1600/Meudon+Aerial-1.jpg

Zach said...

Ancient...I was going to say the same thing...before you deleted your comment : )

Anonymous said...

My paternal grand father Samuel James Batchelor was a gardener at Meudon. He died in 1917 shortly before he, his wife, and 4 children were scheduled to move into the new gardener's house. Sam is buried in the Locust Valley Cemetary.

Robert batchelor