Artescape at Winter Park, Part II

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Reception Hall & Fountain Court, Laurelton Hall at The Morse Museum of American Art.

Tiffany at Laurelton Hall

In 1902, Louis Comfort Tiffany began construction of Laurelton Hall, an 84-room house and country estate on 580 acres near Oyster Bay, Long Island. Tiffany created extraordinary tableaus in every room while surrounding it with 60 acres of Elysian gardens. When Laurelton Hall was devastated by a 1957 fire, Winter Park collector and artist Jeannette Genius McKean said to her husband Hugh F. McKean, then president of Rollins College, “Let’s buy everything and try to save it.” Abracadabra.

The Morse Museum’s already wide-ranging collection of Tiffany artworks now includes its Laurelton Hall architectural and aesthetic showcase in a 12,000 square-foot wing that opened in February 2011. The Morse’s collections have been shown in the nation’s major museum; their Tiffany-designed Oyster Bay window is on long-term loan to The Met. During the fifty-year span from the time when The Morse Gallery mounted the first exhibition of Tiffany’s work untilLouis Comfort Tiffany & Laurelton Hall — An Artist’s Country Estate, the 2006 collaborative exhibition in New York by The Morse and The Met, this privately-funded Winter Park museum has been at the forefront of American decorative arts.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
445 North Park Avenue


First arriving in Winter Park in 1883, Charles Hosmer Morse, pictured above, was a prominent Chicago industrialist and philanthropist for whom the museum was named by his granddaughter Jeanette Genius McKean. McKean first established the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins College campus before moving it onto Park Avenue where it became The Morse Museum of American Art. The Morse Museum is privately-operated, supported by the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation with additional funds from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation.
” … the nurturing effect of art that they believed was crucial to living a full life.”

Tiffany at The Morse





Tiffany Art Glass exhibition poster, 1899. Grafton Galleries, London.
Book cover, The Art Work of Louis C. Tiffany. Doubleday, Page & Co., 1914.
Aurora, 1894. 56 x 35 in.


The more than 1,000 square-foot Byzantine-Romanesque Chapel recreation is one of the museum’s highlights, having been kept in packing crates for years after the fire. Following two years of restoration work, the chapel was reassembled and opened in 1999. It features six carved plaster arches, 16 mosaic columns, a ten-foot by eight-foot electrified chandelier, a marble altar, a dome-shaped baptismal fount, and several leaded-glass windows.


The World’s Columbian Exposition established Tiffany as a preeminent designer.
More than 1.5 million people visited Tiffany’s exhibit, awarded 54 honorary medals.
Feeding the Flamingoes, 1892, was shown at the 1893 Exposition.
Tiffany residence. New York City, 1885-1933.
Library Lamp, c. 1910. Shade No. 1495.
The Tiffany-designed wrought-iron and mica fireplace hood was first displayed in the library at Tiffany’s Madison Avenue residence before it was installed at Laurelton Hall. It is one of the Morse Museum’s most recent acquisitions.

Laurelton Hall: 1901-1915
Oyster Bay, Long Island

 “… to suggest the former splendor …”


Laurelton Hall, Overview.
Laurelton Hall, plans. Robert L. Pryor, architect.
Reception Hall and Fountain, directly ahead; to the right, Daffodil Terrace. There are ten galleries in the Laurelton Hall addition.
Daffodil Terrace was reconstructed from hundreds of salvaged and restored architectural elements as well as replicated boxed beams, frieze, and rafter tails. The eight Carrara marble columns with concrete capitals encrusted with cast-glass daffodils support a coffered ceiling with a center skylight framed by more than 100 molded wood-composite tiles painted with geometric and floral motifs.
Daffodil Terrace, view toward the new wing’s center hall.
Tiffany’s Daffodil Column Capitals.
Daffodil Terrace, view toward the Dining Room.
Daffodil Terrace view east to central courtyard.
Daffodil Terrace, view northeast toward the museum courtyard.
Daffodil Terrace, coffered ceiling and ceiling tiles.
Daffodil Terrace, ceiling detail.
The Dining Room features six wisteria leaded-glass transom windows and three mosaic clocks.
Indian Teak Doorway, c. 1882. Laurelton Hall. The main entrance to Laurelton Hall’s art gallery was fashioned in the manner of an 18th-century Indian residence. The doors were crafted in Ahmedabad, a workshop that produced Indian objects for Tiffany Studios.
Tree of Life window, 1928-1931. Studio, Laurelton Hall. 120 x 82 in. Considered Tiffany’s last designed window, it is also his only work known to have been designed as “an everlasting inspiration …” at Comfort Lodge, his Florida home.

Comfort Lodge
1865 Brickell Avenue – Miami
1923-1933


Tiffany at Comfort Lodge on Miami’s Brickell Avenue. Courtesy The Morse Museum of American Art.
July 1920. Chapman & Frazer, architect. Built for a cost of $30-$40,000, “octagon in shape with every room octagon with six sides exposed … movable windows and walls, and cypress beams brought in from Palatka …” Miami News archive.
Comfort Lodge, 1865 Brickell Avenue, Miami. Image State of Florida Archives.
Comfort Lodge, 1865 Brickell Avenue. Miami. Tiffany’s sister, Annie Olivia Tiffany Mitchell, built a house next door to Comfort Lodge; their houses connected by a footbridge. The Mitchell-Tiffany Papers are housed at Yale. Image State of Florida Archives.
February 1928. “Artists Goes to Beach at 80.” Miami News archive.
February 1932. The last party at Comfort Lodge. Comfort Lodge was sold in June 1935. A few months later, it was considerably damaged by a hurricane and demolished. Miami News archive.




January 1933. The will …

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933)


The August Heckscher leaded-glass door panels, c. 1905.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.

Click here for Artescape at Winter Park, Part I


Photography Augustus Mayhew

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