Caramoor, country estate of Walter
Tower Rosen and his wife, Lucie Bigelow Rosen, built
between 1929 and 1939, is now a house museum displaying
an impressive collection of interior furnishings. The
House Museum built around a central courtyard resembles
a Mediterranean villa. It showcases the collection the
Rosens had amassed through the years: Renaissance, 18th
century, and Eastern art objects and furnishings - tapestries,
sculpture, paintings, textiles, furniture, exquisite
wall coverings, stained glass, Urbino Maiolica, and
a major jade collection. Entire rooms were imported
from European palaces and country manors.
Twenty magnificent rooms at the House
Museum are open to the public, filled with the extraordinary
collection Mr. and Mrs. Rosen amassed through the years:
paintings, sculpture, tapestries, stained glass, furniture,
cloisonné, and an important jade collection.
The 17th century Burgundian Library,
exceptional for its vaulted, periwinkle-blue ceiling
decorated with 13 biblical scenes. Walls and doors are
decorated with 65 additional paintings.
Of special note is the lovely Reception
Room, with exquisite hand painted 18th century wallpaper
from China, and a suite of 18th century furniture, from
a Venetian dressmaker's shop.
The restored Cabinet Room consisting
of lacquered panels, created for the Palazzo Riccasoli
in Turin in the middle of the 18th century. Very few
of these once numerous lacquered rooms have survived,
though they were very fashionable in England, France,
Portugal and Germany as well as in Italy.
The Dining Room, lined in stunning
18th century Chinese wallpaper, made for the European
market, contains a set of fourteen exquisite red-lacquered
chairs, built by the English cabinetmaker Giles Grendey
for the Duke of Infantado's castle of Lazcano near San
Sebastian, Spain. Also in the Dining Room is an outstanding
eight-fold Chinese screen with 40 panels of carved spinach-green
jade set in an original carved teak frame. The screen,
considered unique, depicts the Hills of Immortality,
the paradise of Taoist religion.
The palatial Music Room contains sculptures,
paintings, 16th century tapestries, wrought iron, stained
glass, and carved pilasters and an outstanding collection
of Urbino Maiolica. Bergeres, sofas and tabourets are
upholstered in a needlework cornucopia of fruit and
foliage. Wonderful wood carving decorates the sgabelli,
chests, credenzas, trestle tables and a magnificent
cassapanca created for the marriage of Piero di Bracio
Alberti and Cassandra Dino in Florence in 1599. Among
the fine art works are a very fine 13th century Head
of Kuan Yin, a painting by Lucas Cranach (1472-1533),
tin-enameled terra cotta reliefs from the workshop of
Andrea della Robbia (1437-1528).
In the Master Bedroom the huge gilded
bed which once belonged to Cardinal Barberini, later
Pope Urban VIII, (1568-1644) takes center stage. In
this room, as elsewhere throughout the house, are displayed
photographs and portraits of family members, reminding
the visitor that the House Museum was originally a family
Visitors to Caramoor are usually astounded
by the unique gardens found at this world-famous music
The Caramoor estate sprawls over 80
lovely acres that were designed to be a jewel-like setting
for musical events held there, as well as a place for
pleasurable strolling and picnicking. Unlike other gardens
in the area, Caramoor's were planned to enhance the
site's Renaissance sensibility. The restoration and
expansion of the gardens have been undertaken by the
Caramoor Garden Guild, which is in charge of planting,
maintaining and enhancing six major garden areas.
The House Museum tours from early
May thru late October Wednesday through Sunday, from
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, last tour at 3:00 pm.