Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The R.P.R. Neilson Estate

The Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson Sr. estate designed by Algernon Bell c. 1910 in Old Westbury.  Neilson was a well know portraitist and recipient of numerous art awards.  He was also an instructor at the National Academy of Design.  The home has since undergone renovations.  Click HERE to see the Neilson estate on google earth and HERE on bing.



Photos from Architecture, 1918.

16 comments:

The Ancient said...

From the Frick archives:

"Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson, a New York City portraitist, still life painter, and art instructor, was born in 1881 in New York and grew up in Far Rockaway, Long Island. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1905 and three years later resigned to pursue his art career; however, he was reinstated as a lieutenant during World War I and served overseas. Neilson married Mary Park (daughter of Pittsburgh steel manufacturer, William Gray Park) in 1906 and they had two children, Raymond Jr. and Elizabeth. Neilson was remarried in 1940 to Inglis Griswold.

"Neilson studied with William Merritt Chase and at the Art Students League with George Bridgman and George Bellows. He continued his art education in Paris, studying at the Académie Julian, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Académie Colarossi, and the Academie Grande Chaumière.

"Neilson was a well-known portraitist who painted many prominent figures, including Admiral William Halsey, Robert P. Patterson, and Dr. Francis Blake. Many civic organizations and corporations commissioned portraits to be presented at ceremonies honoring the subjects.

"Neilson was widely exhibited and won many awards for his paintings, including those from the Paris Salon, National Academy of Design, Currier Gallery of Art, and Academic Artists Association. His works are in the collections of the Luxembourg Museum, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, and Yale and Princeton Universities, among other institutions.

"Neilson was also an art instructor at the Art Students League from 1926-1927 and at the National Academy of Design from 1928-1938. He served as the recording secretary of the National Academy of Design council from 1937-1946 and as a council member for Allied Artists of America. Neilson died March 1st, 1964 in New York City at the age of 82."

The Ancient said...

More links --

http://wikimapia.org/19021056/Turnpike-Cottage

(More pics, and the suggestion that the subsequent alterations were by MM&W. Also, it says Neilson's father-in-law, a Carnegie associate, later owned the house. Hmmm.)

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F30C1EF83A5A12738DDDA00A94DC405B868CF1D3

(Neilson-Park wedding announcement.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_S._Rodgers

(Neilson's maternal relations were all wet -- in a good way.)

http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/i/partypictures/10_03_11/IMG_7832.jpg

(Neilson's 1928 portrait of Michael Phipps, now at the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Va.)

Doug Floor Plan said...

This is a lucky house – well cared for & not altered into something gross or beyond recognition. I hope the inside is similar. I guess the roof must be well constructed because I look at that valley formed between the dormers on the front of the house & visualize it filling up with snow each winter.

The floor plan is good & its manageable size (relatively speaking) & layout is probably one reason this house survived. I like the discreet access to the front door from the service wing (& the placement of the half bath), which is why I’m surprised there are no back stairs in this house – everyone used the main staircase. I’m sure the former studio made an easy conversion into a family room / pool house.

archibuff said...

Was a very pleasant house with nice floor plans having much variety in floor levels between rooms, but didnt everyone say that MM&W worked on their homes? If they did all the work that gets credited to them.....

However, I can presume that MM&W did not stucco coat the exterior adding those pseudo quoins and chunky corbels at the eaves. Looks like the house had a make-over by one of those late night renovation advertisers. Yet it could have been much worse. From the wikimapia link, the house looks very very very white.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused...the old pictures look as if the house is made of wood, and go to the tinyurl pictures and it looks to be of some sort of stucco or stone.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone one know what was next door to the east? Looking on Bing it looks to be an old estate and on Google earth it has been replaced by a McMansion.

archibuff said...

The 3 tinyurl pictures also show the wrong property taken from the Nassau County Assessment Office. Either the person responsible for posting the photo was mistaken or the home located directly on I U Willets Road is paying the tax rate on their neighbors property. I wouldnt doubt anything when it comes to Nassau County incompetence.

Zach said...

The house to the east is not listed on any of the old maps which probably suggests it was a super's residence to possibly 'Ivycroft'.

It wasn't torn down though...it appears to have undergone a substantial remodeling but the house itself is still there.

The Down East Dilettante said...

"Neilson married Mary Park (daughter of Pittsburgh steel manufacturer, William Gray Park)".

Glad Ancient cleared that up. I confess my very first thought looking at this very likeable house (although that dining room furniture needs to go) was that it was an awfully nice country place even for a very successful portraitist.

Archibuff, McKim, Mead & White survived under that name into the 1940's, and indeed did many renovations. Where the disagreements come in is with all the real estate agents who claim so many houses built were built by Stanford White, even after his 1906 death.

Anonymous said...

archibuff, I'm not sure that it's a different property. The roof line and the what was once the studio look very similar.

The Ancient said...

The exterior renovations confuse me. It's as if someone was trying to make the house look older than it is -- or as if Calvert Vaux and A. J. Downing had been revived for a consult.

(I don't see wood in the old pictures of the house, only a suggestion of it on the drawing.)

Dilettante --

Perhaps the DR furniture came from Pittsburgh. (And if the exterior renovations were done when the father-in-law owned the house, well ...)

archibuff said...

Anon 9:56 - At the wikimapia link, photo #3 seems to show the wrong property from the county assessment office files.

And yes, while the later day firm of MM&W did many institutional commissions and renovations they were but a shadow of their former selves, but if they renovated this home, they did a really poor job. The results look like a nice old home renovated with dryvit and fiberglass details applied over a synthetic stucco coating. It could have been renovated by Joe the handyman carpenter last year and it would have gotten the same results. Hopefully the interior has much of the original charm retained.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Are we all looking at the same house? While the weatherboard exterior of the original version is sweeter, this is not a horrible stucco job.

The Ancient said...

Mea culpa -- when I enlarge the first exterior shot, I see the weatherboard.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

The text info at wikimapia including MMW reference comes from the Spinzia publication. The mynas photo link is correct except for #3. I had a name for the owner of property to the east. Have vague memory of my search in the area(year ago) and recall whatever LIGC house was there was torn down and new one built. If you go back a year at OLI I would suspect the topic was Ivycroft or some other in the area - I might have posted something about this???

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Speaking of the area - informative post - http://www.oldlongisland.com/2010/09/ac-bostwick-estate.html