Sea views, mild spring and fall weather, and proximity to New York City settled the port city of Newport, Rhode Island, as a gilded-age destination, and one of the most beautiful is Rosecliff Mansion.
Turn-of-the-20th-century architect Stanford White modeled the design for Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon garden retreat of French kings at Versailles, near Paris. Completed in 1902, Rosecliff’s main distinctions among the area’s other grand dwellings are its heart-shaped staircase and the 3,200-square-foot ballroom, considered the largest in Newport.
Another indication that the mansion is a Stanford White project is the covered arcade, or loggia, of arched windows flanked by classic square and round columns decorated with scroll patterns.
Age always takes a toll on structures, but The Preservation Society of Newport County oversees several historic mansions and recently completed a nine-month restoration of Rosecliff to make sure the magnificent site is sound and viewable for years to come. The $7.4 million project included refurbishment of gilding (application of gold leaf or gold paint) on exterior doors as well as sandblasting and repainting all the elaborate wrought iron, another distinct and contrasting architectural feature that sets off the all-white mansion.
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