NEWPORT – The mansions of Newport display one of the greatest collections of fine and decorative arts from the Gilded Age. Set in elaborate period rooms, these objects are not always visible up close and their significance is often overlooked.
Beginning Friday, May 27, the Preservation Society of Newport County will shed light on important Gilded Age artifacts with “Anything You Want: A Closer Look at Newport’s Gilded Age Treasures “. The exhibition runs until Sunday, October 30 in the second floor galleries of Rosecliff. Get an overview on NewportMansions.org.
Guest curator Ulysses Grant Dietz selected more than 100 treasures from Preservation Society properties.
HBO’s new drama “The Gilded Age” was largely shot in the historic homes of the Preservation Society. Spectacular objects from these same houses will be presented in the exhibition. Much like the fictional characters on the show, the real people of the Golden Age were consumers, users, and admirers of beautiful things. The objects displayed at Rosecliff represent the diversity of their lived experiences. They include a grandiose dressing table from Mrs. Astor’s house in New York, now in Château-sur-Mer; a glamorous marble-topped sideboard made in Paris for the Berwinds’ French-style chateau, The Elms; and a sink made in a Michigan factory and used by the largely immigrant staff employed by the Vanderbilts at The Breakers. The exhibition explores how these objects reflect the lives of Newportians in the Gilded Age and further questions period ideas of class, gender and racial difference.