Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

September 20, 2010 - Flagler Museum, Part 2

Last week I shared some of the exterior elegance of the Flagler Museum. This week and next I will share some of the opulent interior. I must apologize to the photographers among you because the lighting was devilishly difficult to deal with. A mixture of sunlight filtered in through large windows together with interior lights of various "temperatures". Since I was a "common tourist", I had no control over the light — so I did the best I could in Photoshop to make it acceptable.

You have already seen the attention to detail that was lavished on this mansion — I assure you that the interior was not short-changed. Examine the high-relief figures and foliage. Then pay attention to the gold leaf applied extensively. Exquisite.

Frescos can be found everywhere. You will get a neck ache if you peer at every one.

Not only did the architect have a "thing" for huge vases, it appears the interior decorator did as well.

And just when the tour has fatigued your legs and you are looking for a spot to sit down, they tease you with original furniture with a rope to keep you off it. But can you imagine visiting the mansion during its heyday and sitting on such an elegant chair?

Not only is the artwork built into the walls and painted onto the ceilings, there are greater-than-life-size statues. This one looks like a Roman thinker who does his best contemplation standing up.

As I mentioned last week, Whitehall was built as a gift to his third wife, Mary. She still overlooks the place.

Another note from their website, 'Built in just 18 months, Whitehall was intended to be both a monumental example of high culture and high technology. In 1900, when construction began, Palm Beach was one of the least developed and most remote locations in the United States. It was arguably America's last frontier. However, with 22 bathrooms, electric lighting, central heating, and a telephone system, Whitehall was not only an impressive statement of high culture, but perhaps the most technologically advanced home in America. As huge crews worked around the clock to complete Whitehall in such a short time, Flagler wrote to the furniture and decorating firm of Pottier and Stymus saying, "I too wonder how you have accomplished so much in such a short time... but I trust that when it is finished, you will have the satisfaction of contemplating it as the greatest job of your life."'

As a former hobbyist woodworker, I was really struck by the design elegance and craftsmanship of execution — as evidenced by this cabinet. And this is just one piece of many throughout the mansion. Wow!

However, I kept coming back to the elaborate design of the walls. It differed room to room so it never became boring.

Note the gold-leaf-covered cherubs in the portal to the next room.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com