Friday, April 6, 2018

The Ames-Webster House, Boston, Massachusetts

Today's Gilded Age mansion is the Ames-Webster House in Boston's Back Bay, built in 1872 for Congressman (and robber baron) Frederick L. Ames.

It was originally designed by Peabody and Stearns and looked like this. Then in 1882 it was enlarged by architect John Hubbard Sturgis. I guess the original palace just wasn't roomy enough for Ames' growing family, or something.

Pictures of the interior look like a lot of other mansions from that era.

Nice conservatory.


Amazing stained glass by John LaFarge (1835–1910).

But what got me interested in the house was the decoration of the rotunda by LaFarge and French painter Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845–1902).

Benjamin-Constant's murals depict a procession of Venetian nobles and, above them, imaginary four portraits of Emperor Justinian, Empress Theodora, and two other Byzantine characters.


First Counselor.

Theodora. How astonishing to have such amazing murals in your own house.

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