Blithewold's Site History-Primary Themes

         The Greenhouse Complex                                             The Loggia                                                 Marjorie's Bedroom

Previous Page

Blithewold provides a unique and seamless design aesthetic, both sophisticated and personal, from its gardens to its architecture, from its wealth of unusual plant specimens to its collection of furnishings, decorative arts, costumes and even garden equipment. The letters, diaries, photographs and ephemera preserved in the archives allow visitors to feel the presence of the estate’s owners. They serve as a primary source for scholars, and ensure a high degree of authenticity for interpretation, exhibits and other programming.

Blithewold’s aesthetic is individual, but also closely tied with the larger Arts and Crafts Movements in Great Britain and the United States. The family’s love of things English is demonstrated on many levels, from the naming of the site to the decision to rebuild the mansion after the 1906 fire “on the lines of the English Manor of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.” Architectural elements and furnishings imported from English stately homes, as well as Colonial Revival details, family heirlooms and bedhangings of Blue and White Needlework created by the Deerfield Society, are just a few examples of the family’s embrace of an old-fashioned lifestyle promoted among the upper and middle classes on both sides of the Atlantic. Blithewold is unique in the degree to which these ideas extend into the landscape.

In siting and landscape, Blithewold offers a unique expression not only of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, but also what has become known as the Country Place Era. In contrast to the showplaces of Newport and the Gilded Age, Blithewold’s house and gardens offer an atmosphere of intimate informality, serenity and joie de vivre that were typical of many Rhode Island coastal communities at the turn of the century, and remain appealing to visitors today.

Next Page

    From Our Blog

  • Springing into action (May 06, '16)
    Despite the wretched weather this week, we ushered in May with a flurry of activity.  The volunteers helped us pot up 100 dahlias in preparation for planting out in the gardens next month.  They also transplanted Cosmos and Zinnia seedlings that will eventually be planted in the Cutting Garden.  We are trialing about a dozen […]
  • A Boy’s Trip to Europe, 1869 (Apr 27, '16)
    In 1869, 16-year-old Israel Pardee left his home in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for a one-year educational journey through Europe, accompanied by his younger sister Anne. Israel (known in the family as Izzie) was Bessie McKee’s older brother and became Marjorie Van Wickle’s favorite Uncle. Izzie and Anne had joined the family of their father’s friend, Dr. […]
  • Daffodil Bliss (Apr 22, '16)
    Daffodil Days here at Blithewold are in full swing.  The soft, sweet fragrance of the flowers wafts toward me whenever I walk near the Bosquet.  It’s positively enticing!  I could wax poetic about each daffodil variety we have here, but I thought it would be better to let them speak for themselves.  So, in lieu […]
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail
List icon Sign up for Our E-Newsletter
Email Newsletters you can trust

Blithewold