Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate on the Philadelphia Main Line (Hardcover)
A unique and fascinating chronicle of the construction and furnishing of an early 20th-century country house, vividly brought to life by letters from the family archiveNever-before-published drawings from Horace Trumbauer's architectural office, including the original and revised plans for all three floors, drawings of interior finishes and exterior details related to the main residence, as well as designs for other projects on the estate, including a never-built gate lodge, beautifully represented in Trumbauer's colored renderingMore than 450 historic and newly commissioned images and two 8-page gatefoldsAn intimate portrait that captures the elegant lifestyle of the Montgomerys and the majesty of their beloved home and estateA richly detailed history of the baronial splendor of the Philadelphia Main Line estate Ardrossan and of the Montgomery family who built it. Real-life American counterparts of the Granthams of Downton Abbey, the Montgomerys are best known as the family on which Philip Barry based his 1939 play, The Philadelphia Story, featuring Katharine Hepburn, who also starred in the later Hollywood film of the same name. The Montgomerys entertained in the grand manner, hosting fox hunts and dinner dances. Guests included diplomat W. Averell Harriman; first lady Edith Roosevelt, Mrs. Montgomery's cousin; and famed vaudevillians the Duncan Sisters. At its height, the magnificent estate encompassed roughly 760 acres of rolling Pennsylvania hills. The Montgomerys' home, still owned by the family, stands as a glorious reminder of the halcyon days of the Gilded Age. The fifty-room Georgian-style manor house was designed in 1911 by Horace Trumbauer, one of America's foremost classical architects who designed the Elms in Newport, Rhode Island, for E. J. Berwind, and Whitemarsh Hall, Trumbauer's masterpiece built for the Stotesburys outside of Philadelphia. The first-floor rooms, essentially unaltered since 1913 when the London-based firm of White, Allom & Company finished decorating them, feature the family's art collection, including ancestral portraits by Thomas Sully and hunt scenes and landscapes on or near Ardrossan by Charles Morris Young. The book also chronicles the history of the family's commercial dairy and prized herd of Ayrshires. This beautifully illustrated book features never-before-published architectural drawings from Trumbauer's office and interior photographs shot by Mattie E. Hewitt in the 1930s, as well as family snapshots and images by celebrated photographers Cecil Beaton and Toni Frissell commissioned by Vogue, Country Life, and Town & Country.
About the Author
David Nelson Wren is an independent scholar who focuses mainly on history and art. In the late 1980s, Wren, a native of Dallas, Texas, relocated to Philadelphia, where his love affair with Ardrossan began. He currently divides his time between Philadelphia and Trumansburg, New York, where he and his husband own Halsey House, a landmark Greek Revival farmhouse that is one of the top-ranking inns in the Finger Lakes region. Wren writes a twice-monthly column for the Ithaca Journal and is a longtime member of several of Philadelphia's more venerable institutions, including the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the Franklin Inn Club.