The Breakers, Newport
I had such a nice time in Newport, Rhode Island recently and inspired many followers to plan their own trips. But I know many of you can’t travel now so I thought I would post a virtual visit to The Breakers for you. It was interesting to visit the mansions during the pandemic and one of the changes that I appreciated was being able to follow the tour of the house on my phone on the Newport Mansion app. If you would like, you can download it and listen to it as you look at my photos. The are arranged mostly in order but I have left out some rooms where the photos weren’t as crisp as the others. I kept getting flares from the lights in my photos so I’m excited for my new Apple iPhone 12 Pro to arrive tomorrow.
“The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America.
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century.
The Commodore’s grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, and purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport during that same year. In 1893, he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the earlier wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire the previous year. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters.
The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Szechenyi of Hungary, inherited the house on her mother’s death in 1934. An ardent supporter of The Preservation Society of Newport County, she opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark.”
All photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic.