French drawing room at Hillwood


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Managing Great Estates Lecture Series - Gilded Age Newport: Society Stalwarts and their Staffers, by Charles J. Burns

In 1902, Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich (1877-1943) of Russia visited Newport, Rhode Island and remarked, "I have never dreamed of such luxury as I have seen at Newport." For eight to twelve weeks each year during July, August and September many of America’s wealthiest citizens with names like Vanderbilt and Astor descended upon the city of Newport with their armies of staff for grand entertainments that came to set a standard of ostentatious display for America’s Gilded Age.

6-6:45 pm     Member’s reception with the speaker, Mansion and Living Artfully open for touring
7-8 pm    Lecture (seating opens at 6:45 pm)   

About the Speaker:

Charles J. Burns is the associate curator of the Preservation Society of Newport County. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, Christie’s Education, London, and the University of London’s Courtauld Institute of Art with a thesis on The Vanderbilts as Collectors.  Presently Mr. Burns is working on a catalogue of the Society’s fine and decorative arts collections entitled: Highlights and Great Rooms to be published in 2015.  Mr. Burns has been associated with the Society for twenty two years where his work embraces American and European collections and interior research and restoration spanning the 18th century through the dawn of the 20th. In this context he has organized multiple exhibitions on Newport’s social history with particular emphasis on the Gilded Age and the inter-War “Age of the Debutante”.  

About the Managing Great Estates Lecture Series:

Marjorie Merriweather Post maintained multiple residences within the great estate tradition, balancing a lavish entertainment schedule, magnificent gardens, and a fine collection of art at each home. Join Estella Chung, exhibition curator, and a host of distinguished speakers to embark on a fascinating study of the management of great estates from Gilded Age to Edwardian Era England to mid-century Europe and America. 

Wednesday, October 2:  DC’s Downton Abbey in a Mad Men-Era, by Estella Chung

Wednesday, October 9:  Gilded Age Newport: Society Stalwarts and their Staffers, by Charles J. Burns

Thursday, October 17:  The Rothschilds at Exbury, by Michael Hall

Thursday, October 24: English Country Estates in the Edwardian Era, by Curt DiCamillo


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