Friday, September 17, 2010

The Vanderbilt Museum

The Vanderbilt mansion is very Italian. It is full of dead animals, stuffed, pinned, or preserved in formaldahyde. It is also full of seashells, mummies, and boat models made of bones. It is weird and awesome.

Our tour was very interesting but at the moment I can only remember one thing: that Mr. Vanderbilt's bed has something to do with Napoleon, and has Josephine's likeness carved into the bedpost. Why does no one ever remember that Josephine cheated on Napoleon, Napoleon cheated on Josephine, and then they got divorced so he could marry someone who was more likely to bear children? Hardly an exemplary romance, Mr. Vanderbilt.

Anyway, the house is rather nice, if a bit, you know, glitzy. This is a man who named each hole on his golf course after one of his yachts. IT WAS AN ELEVEN-HOLE GOLF COURSE. They had a model of the 264-foot yacht Alva in the room with the preserved sea creatures. That's a third the length of the Titanic. For one guy. At least he named it after his mother, and not Napoleon.

Inside the courtyard.

The back, which faces the Long Island Sound.
That balcony is where the "breakfast nook" is, I believe.

The Long Island Sound. Connecticut is faintly visible in the distance.

A garden.

Another garden. (There were a few.)

Some interesting fellows.
Please note that there is a portcullis in the background.
In case the mob comes with pitchforks, I guess.



Bunny rabbit.


Anonymous said...

Must be the bunny rabbit from Monty Python....!

Anonymous said...

Except for the bunny rabbit so cleverly disguised as a large lizard, these pictures remind me of Hearst Castle. It is not so much that the buildings are alike (which they are not really at all), but rather that they both reflect a careless opulence, and Euro-centric fascination that seems to be quite typical of the very wealthy of the time.