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A Makeover for the Dining Room

Fans of reality TV shows might recognize Hyde Hall as being a huge “Before & Afer” makeover project. Soon Hyde Hall will be the scene of yet another episode: the transformation of the Dining Room walls.

We have asked Lori Wilson, internationally known paint expert, artist, teacher, and master painter, to restore the Dining Room walls to their 1830s appearance.

Long associated with Golden Artist Colors of New Berlin, New York, Lori brings many years of experience to Hyde Hall. Her goal will be to reproduce in the Dining Room the same marbleized treatment that has survived in the Drawing Room and Entrance Hall. In the 1880s, the Dining Room walls were painted a once-fashionable Victorian red, but with restorations now focused on recreating the earliest appearance of the Great House, these three major rooms will soon present  the unified ensemble that George Clarke created in 1833.

While painting a room might seem simple, the Dining Room project has posed interesting challenges. The first task was to test the Dining Room wall surface to determine what course to follow in the restoration of the original color. Lori discovered that the red pigment is very difficult to remove, and in the areas she tested, the pigment was deeply absorbed into the plaster walls—all the way down to the second or brown coat layer. Based on this discovery, she believes the red pigment will not bleed through the new thin skin of limewash that she would like to spread over the surface of the Dining Room walls. Not having to remove all of the red paint (a time-consuming and difficult process) is a major advantage. It is interesting to note that the limewash she plans to use will contain mica and black pigmentation similar to the original surface.

To avoid the possibility of bleed-through or delamination, Lori recommends that we test select areas in the Dining Room with different surface treatments over the fall, winter, and spring seasons. The goal is to choose a durable new finish treatment that will adhere to the present surface. This means we must delay the Dining Room carpet installation until May or early June of 2017. It is a small price to pay for better results.

We are grateful for the care and thoroughness of Lori Wilson’s analysis. We hope you will visit us next May during tours to see her at work recreating the marbleized surfaces that make Hyde Hall a model of 1830s elegance and sophistication.

From the Fall 2016 Hyde Hall Newsletter

Partners in Preservation

PPPHyde Hall participated in the second annual history fair organized by the Otsego County Historical Association on Saturday, April 23 at the Springfield Community Center. Twenty-two Historical societies set up their booths. It was an opportunity to show the progress in the restoration of the Hyde Hall Historic Mansion and to discuss the new carpet in the Drawing Room. Designed by David Hunt of the Vermont Custom Rug Company and manufactured by the Langhorne Carpet Company of Penndel, PA, this carpet will recreate the kind of floor covering once found in many of the mansion’s principal rooms, including the Front Hall and the Dining Room. In the early 19th-century, Brussels carpets, which have a looped pile construction, were typically installed in the homes of America’s most wealthy citizens, including presidents and major landowners.

 

Drwawing-room-X

The Oldest Covered Bridge in New York State

In the early days of roadways, bridges were typically constructed out of wood, which was plentiful, inexpensive and a fitting structural material.  Exposed wooden bridges would deteriorate quickly (10-15 years) from exposure to the elements, so to enable a more durable and long-lasting structure, bridges were built with a cover, in most cases including both a roof and sides.  Most covered bridges have been replaced to accommodate today’s vehicles and modern traffic.  There are only about 1600 original covered bridges remaining in the world today, and one of them was built as part of the Hyde Hall estate – officially the oldest covered bridge in NY.

covered bridge1

Hyde Hall’s covered bridge, built by George Clarke in 1823, is the oldest covered bridge in New York State. It is 53 feet long and one lane wide and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1998. It can be seen on the grounds of Glimmerglass State Park, which borders Hyde Hall and was once part of the great Clarke estate. It crosses Shadow Brook and is for pedestrians only. The bridge form is known as a Burr Arch.

covered bridge5

covered bridge6

In addition to protection from the elements, for pedestrians, drivers and the structure itself, it is thought that covered bridges helped keep animals calmer when crossing rivers and streams, which helped to reduce damage to the structure as well.

For more information about covered bridges and where to find them, visit the following websites:

Hyde Hall Garden Notes

George Clarke was well versed in gardening and landscape architecture and held an extensive library of literary and trade sources on the topics.  The gardens at Hyde Hall were re-developed several times, beginning with items for practical use and then turning to a mix that included more ornamental plants and flowers.  Clarke also invested in apple orchards on the estate and experimented with other types of fruit trees as well.

The Hyde Hall gardens were located on the grounds on what is currently the parking pavilion for Glimmerglass State Park, just below the location of the family vault.  There was a garden house in this area and a fountain in the center.   The archived receipts show that the Clarkes  purchased decorative plants and flowers, fruit trees, and a number of items presumably used as supply for household meals.

A few drawings of the Garden Plans are below:

Plan of Garden CLR 37sm Revised Garden Plan CLR p 40sm

 

Below are receipts from orders made in the early 1800’s, many of which are from the G. Thorburn Seed Company in New York City.  Grant Thorburn  became a seedsman in 1805. He struggled through discouragements, failures, and even (in 1808) bankruptcy, and ultimately made his seed business one of the greatest in the world.  You can read his ‘Life and Writings of Grant Thorburn’ work from the New York Public Library here.


For more about the gardens at Hyde Hall, see Executive Director, Jonathan Maney’s article in the Fall 2014 Newsletter “New York’s Oldest English Landscape Garden”.

Doc 4 A Garden seedsm

 

Doc 5 A 20 Apple_6 Plum_15 Pecan treessm

Document 1 A Bill for Garden Seeds-1sm

Document 2 A Garden Seeds_Thorburn NYsm

Source: Hyde Hall Cultural Landscape Report, 2011, William Neil Marzella.

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