On a recent snow-globe March day in Portland, Maine, I was delighted to have Curator Arlene Palmer Schwind take me through the Morse-Libby owned Victoria Mansion, designed with handsome Herter Brothers furniture and decorative arts collections. The whole tour experience was happily teetering on the realm of gustatory – a confectionary concoction of forms, finishes, and textures that you could almost taste.
Italianate-style Victoria Mansion was built by Henry Austin for hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse (1814-1893) and his wife Olive (1820-1903) as a summer retreat from their New Orleans home.… Read More
I’m seeing a trend in the Boston area when it comes to Victorian homes. Home-buying opportunities abound, and I’ve met more than a few “young collectors” who speak admiringly of the ornate woodwork, beautiful hardwood floors and unique build-ins of their new Victorian homes. Although they realize they purchased gems, what they might not have thought about is how affordable it is to furnish their new homes with period designs.
I’ve overheard it said that Victorian antiques and Boston don’t agree – but that’s certainly not true in my experience. New York City housed the biggest powerhouses of design and manufacture in latter part of the 19th century, including Herter Brothers and Pottier & Stymus, but Boston had plenty of purchasing power, and museums and collections are plentiful here. Most importantly for collectors, great buys can be had if you know what to look for.