Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Day 2 - The Breakers at Newport

Okay, the sun tried to come out on Friday -- a few faint-hearted attempts, but an overcast sky won out ... but that did not deter my visit to The Breakers and Marble House.   The Breakers was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II.  The house passed to his daughter, Gladys, Countess Szechenyi, after her mother's death in 1934.

The Countess was an early supporter of the Preservation Society of Newport County.  In 1972, her heirs sold the house to the Preservation Society. It is a National Historic Monument.

Cornelius(1843-1899) and his wife Alice Claypoole Gwynne (1845-1934) had seven children:  Alice Gwynne (1869-1874), William Henry (1870-1892),  Cornelius III (1873-1942), Gertrude (Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney) (1875-1952), Alfred Gwynne (1877-1915), Reginald Claypoole (1880-1925) and Gladys Moore (1886-1965) who married Hungarian Count Laszlo Szechenyi.

The bulk of Cornelius' estate went to his second surviving son, Alfred (who was on the Lusitania when it was struck and sunk by a torpedo from a German U-boat) as his eldest surviving son, Nelly, had married without his father's approval.

Gertrude was a noted sculptor and art patron.  In 1931, she founded the Whitney Museum of American Art, which is located in New York City.  Her sculptures include the Women's Titanic Memorial and the Founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution, both of which are located in Washington, D.C.

Reginald was married twice and was not careful with his inheritance.  His second wife was Gloria Morgan, the mother of his younger daughter, Gloria, who was 18-months-old when her father died.  She and her much older half-sister, Catherine each received a half-share of their father's $5 million trust fund.

Gertrude Whitney and other members of the family did not believe that Gloria Morgan was a fit mother for Little Gloria.  In 1934, she was awarded custody of her niece.

Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt's twin sister, Thelma, Lady Furness, was the mistress of the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) when he met Wallis Warfield Simpson.  Little Gloria was married four times.  She had four sons including CNN television anchor Anderson Cooper.

The Breakers is a truly grand, must-see home.  It was used by the family for six weeks every summer ... just six weeks for such grandeur.

Marble House will be in a separate post.

The docent was rather impressed that I recognized this portrait of Anne of Ditchley as a Sir Peter Lely.  The portrait is in the Morning Room

this staircase was for the ladies in their gowns, as the steps were a bit smaller to allow the gowns to glide.

a rather overcast day

Yummy lunch here - an adult grilled cheese sandwich (triple decker), toasted, three cheeses, bacon and tomato.

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1 comment:

nettyroyal said...

I just finished reading A Well-Behaved Woman. A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Theresa Anne Fowler about Alva Smith who married William Vanderbilt, Cornelius brother. Quite a nice read.