Despite the fact that there was both a Den that belonged to Teddy (EW’s husband) and a Library for Edith, the word at The Mount is that EW did not actually do her writing in the Library. (Our gal did most in her bed, papers flying!).
The Main Floor Gallery, which I profiled yesterday, leads directly into Teddy W’s Den.
The Den, where Teddy kept his office, was designed by Ogden Codman, Jr., EW’s co-writer on The Decoration of Houses. While the Den is not currently “decorated”, it does boast some exquisite plasterwork and a gorgeous marble fireplace with mirror and classically inspired overmantle. The doors on either side lead out to the terrace on the side of the house. The room is so bright and lovely! The door hardware was imported from France. Le sigh… C’est si joli, non ??
A note from Pres. Teddy Roosevelt to EW:
This is one of two original paintings installed over the doors in the Den depicting a satyr. Unfortunately, my photograph came out way more yellow than the actual walls and painting. You can actually see this painting reflected in the mirror over the fireplace.
Edith Wharton’s Library sits directly under her bedroom in the rear left corner of the house. She believed that the books in a library should be the primary focus and provide a decorative element and that the book cases should be recessed into the walls, not free standing. While she has been photographed at her writing table in the library, she was most likely to write in bed and use the library for study and entertaining close friends with readings. The most exciting part of this room is that her book collection was returned to The Mount in 2006. This was the one room that was roped off – no peeking through the books! When the house was decorated a few years ago, the library was done by Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill. The rendering in the Centennial Celebration program book shows a room with significantly more furniture, so it’s clear that much as been removed. Some of the pieces here may be hold-overs, however, I’m not really sure.
The Edith Wharton Organization, which manages The Mount, was facing foreclosure just a year ago. A bank restructuring and much needed donations has kept the doors open, but money is still needed to continue operations and much needed improvements. Please consider making a donation to this treasure of American Arts and Architecture.