Monday, December 14, 2015


This "jewel box" of a room, the opulent Gilded Age interior called, the Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, opens tomorrow, December 15 and continues through May 1, 2016. Visitors will gain new insights into the luxurious and artistic interiors found in New York's wealthiest households in the 19th century, which reveal the artistic embellishments, the decorative arts of a period in history when the tycoons could afford every luxury. 
    It is a rare surviving commission by New York-based cabinetmaker and interior decorator
George A. Schastey for art collector and philanthropist Arabella Worsham.
    The Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing  Room is a quintessential expression of the Aesthetic movement, which was in vogue during the late 1870s and early 1880s. The room comes from the     4 West 54th Street home of Arabella, mistress (and late, wife) of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington.

     This dressing room may not be every woman's dream room but it deserves close examination for the sheer breath of design elements are quite intriguing. Careful study of the ornate marquetry ornamentation are executed in satinwood and purpleheart with mother-of-pearl inlays that reveal a multitude of sea shell and pearl motifs that reference Worsham's great love of pearl jewelry.          Other elements of design focus on a woman's personal accouterments with depictions of hand mirrors, scissors, hair combs, brooches, necklaces and earrings--all suggesting the dressing room's intended use.The private room, intended solely for Worsham's use, is a totally cohesive artistic interior with intricate woodwork, a built-in wardrobe, two full-length dressing mirrors, a delicate dressing table and chairs.
   The Rockefeller connection: In 1884, Worsham sold the house, complete with furnishings to John D, Rockefeller, who made few change to it and gifted it to The Museum of the City of New York after Rockefeller's death in 1937. The room has found new life at the Metropolitan, where it was recently conserved and identified as the work of Schastey and is located Gallery 742 in the American Wing. It takes its place with a suite of American interiors arranged in historical sequence.

Gallery 746 features furniture from several other rooms of the Worsham-Rockefeller house, notably the Moorish reception room and a bedroom.
    Herter Brothers and the William H. Vanderbilt House, Gallery 743
     An adjoining gallery displays works by Schastey's best-known competitor Herter Brothers. The installation is Herter Brother's most important commission for the William H. Vanderbilt House (on Fifth between 51st and 52nd streets). Among the new discoveries being shown for the first time are a pair of rosewood side chairs for Vanderbilt's library; a pair of gilded and mother-of-pearl armchairs and gilded console table from one of the most sumptuous rooms of the day.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! The artisan workmanship in the Arabella Worsham dressing room is worth closer examination, do go and see for yourself.  Fan mail always welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.
Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left hand column click on the link to the Blog that resonates with your interest.

No comments:

Post a Comment