- A unique and fascinating chronicle of the construction and furnishing of an early 20th-century country house, vividly brought to life by letters from the family archive
- Never-before-published drawings from Horace Trumbauer’s architectural office, including the original and revised plans for all three floors, drawings of interior finishes and exterior details related to the main residence, as well as designs for other projects on the estate, including a never-built gate lodge, beautifully represented in Trumbauer’s coloured rendering.
- More than four hundred historic and newly commissioned images
A richly detailed history of the baronial splendor of the Philadelphia Main Line estate Ardrossan and of the Montgomery family who built it. Real-life American counterparts of the Granthams of Downton Abbey, the Montgomerys are best known as the family on which Philip Barry based his 1939 play, The Philadelphia Story, featuring Katharine Hepburn, who also starred in the later Hollywood film of the same name.
The Montgomerys entertained in the grand manner, hosting fox hunts and dinner dances. Guests included diplomat W. Averell Harriman; first lady Edith Roosevelt, Mrs. Montgomery’s cousin; and famed vaudevillians the Duncan Sisters. At its height, the magnificent estate encompassed roughly 760 acres of rolling Pennsylvania hills. The Montgomerys’ home, still owned by the family, stands as a glorious reminder of the halcyon days of the Gilded Age. The fifty-room Georgian-style manor house was designed in 1911 by Horace Trumbauer, one of America’s foremost classical architects who designed the Elms in Newport, Rhode Island, for E. J. Berwind, and Whitemarsh Hall, Trumbauer’s masterpiece built for the Stotesburys outside of Philadelphia. The first-floor rooms were decorated by the London-based firm of White, Allom & Company. Essentially unaltered since 1913, these rooms feature the family’s art collection, including ancestral portraits by Thomas Sully and hunt scenes and landscapes on or near Ardrossan by Charles Morris Young. The book also chronicles the history of the family’s commercial dairy and prized herd of Ayrshires.
This beautifully illustrated book features never-before-published architectural drawings from Trumbauer’s office and interior photographs shot by Mattie E. Hewitt in the 1930s, as well as family snapshots and images by celebrated photographers Cecil Beaton and Toni Frissell commissioned by Vogue, Country Life, and Town & Country.