Hyde Hall, the National Historic Landmark and State Historic Site located in Glimmerglass State Park, is pleased to announce that 59 benefactors contributed $202, 095 to the 2017 Hyde Hall Challenge Grant Campaign that was launched on June 8th. This challenge grant, made possible through a matching gift initiative from the Tiannaderrah Foundation and the Gipson Family of Unadilla, New York, will fund the complete restoration of Hyde Hall’s most important rooms.
The 2017 Challenge Grant Campaign ended September 5th. As Dr. Jonathan Maney, Hyde Hall’s executive director, explains, “We exceeded our $100,000 fundraising goal, and with the generous match provided by the Gipson Family of Unadilla, we have a great success to show for our very special, bicentennial year.” Maney says the Gipsons’ gift is “transformational,” and with it he and the Hyde Hall Board of Trustees will move steadily toward completing major restoration goals that include the Kitchens as well as the Dining Room and Drawing Room window treatments.
About the drapery, Maney says, “Once completed, these restorations will establish Hyde Hall as a leader in the reconstruction and reproduction of a ‘lost art’—the sumptuous and beautiful textiles that established the highest standards of taste for worldly and wealthy Americans in the first half of the 19th century.” He goes on to say that while illustrations of window treatments can be seen in period paintings and drawings, “Hyde Hall now will be among the first to accurately reproduce continuous drapery—a spectacular style of period window treatment—based on sound scholarship, strong surviving evidence, and meticulous craftsmanship.”
Maney hopes the drapery project will promote a new understanding and appreciation for one of the highest forms of decorative arts to be found in early American homes. Funds will also be used to completely restore the Hyde Hall Kitchens to their 1835 appearance. Maney anticipates the possibility of holding period cooking classes there and hosting special tours that will explore early 19th century cuisine and foodways. “With this grant, Hyde Hall makes a major step forward toward achieving its goals and fulfilling its potential as one of America’s most distinctive and interesting historical sites.”
Hyde Hall remains open for tours every day of the week through October 31st. Tours begin at 10am and then on the hour until 4pm, when the final tour departs. Please visit www.hydehall.org for more information about tours and special events such as the evening Hyde & Shriek candlelight tours that are available Friday and Saturday nights every weekend in October.
This dual-use piece of furniture was designed for a private gentleperson’s library. With the chair seat turned over at the hinge connected to the chair’s base, the metamorphic chair is transformed into steps to help the user reach the higher library shelves.
Wikipedia records the following:
Tables, chairs and stools containing Library Steps were patented in Great Britain by Robert Campbell in 1774 but the chair-based design did not become popular until the second decade of the 19th century. Despite the appeal of the Regency period Metamorphic Library Chair, there is limited information available on the development of the design or the firms that made them. Most design references are based on two outline sketches. The first, by Rudolph Ackermann in 1811, illustrates a Morgan & Sanders chair and the second shows a chair made by Gillows in 1834.
According to a surviving receipt, George Clarke purchased a metamorphic chair made by John Meads, Albany cabinetmaker, in 1825.
The design of the Meads chair closely followed English prototypes and was similar to one shown in the 1811 Ackermann illustration. While not original to Hyde Hall, the English mahogany metamorphic chair now in our Collections is nearly identical to the original Hyde Hall example that appears in 1930s interior photos.