HBO’s The Gilded Age
Glenview, the Museum’s historic home, is featured in Season 1 and 2 of HBO’s The Gilded Age, the popular Emmy Award winning series from Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey.
The much anticipated Season 2 is now streaming Sundays at 9pm on HBO. Watch the trailer here.
Tours of Glenview
As we await Season 2 of The Gilded Age, you can travel back in time and experience our magnificently preserved Gilded Age home in person! Explore our six fully restored period rooms on a 45-minute guided tour of 1877 home on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are offered on Thursdays & Fridays at 1pm, and Saturdays & Sundays at 1 & 3pm. Advance reservations are strongly encouraged.
The American Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of great conflict between the old ways and brand new systems, and of huge fortunes made and lost. Against the backdrop of this transformation, Season 1 of The Gilded Age begins in 1882 with young Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old-money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon). Soon, Marian gets wrapped up in a feud between her aunts and their new money neighbors, George and Bertha Russell, a railroad tycoon and his wife.
Producers for The Gilded Age wanted to accurately recreate New York in the 1880s, which led them to the Hudson River Museum and Glenview, our historic home on the National Register of Historic Places. Glenview was built in 1877 by financier John Bond Trevor, who preferred to live in comfort in the newly accessible suburbs of New York City like many other businessmen in the late nineteenth century. The home was designed by Charles W. Clinton, who was also the noteworthy designer of New York’s Seventh Regiment Armory (1880), now commonly known as the Park Avenue Armory.
Glenview serves as the home of the character of Mrs. Astor (Donna Murphy). A famed New York figure, Caroline Webster Schermerhorn, or simply “the Mrs. Astor” as she was widely known, was the most prominent American socialite of the time, and the wife of businessman, racehorse breeder, and yachtsman William Backhouse Astor Jr.
“It’s certainly a proud moment for us to share the beautiful craftsmanship and environments of Glenview in such a fine production as The Gilded Age,” said Masha Turchinsky, HRM Director and CEO. “It’s an exciting way for us to reach new audiences and bring stories of the era to life.”
For both Season 1 and 2, HBO’s team was onsite in Glenview for nearly two weeks. As stewards of the estate, HRM staff worked closely with the production team to determine what spaces were to be used, and what would stay in place and what would be removed and placed safely in storage. In Season 1, Glenview’s interiors, particularly the Ebony Library and Great Hall, are featured as the home of Mrs. Astor (episode 1, 2, and 9). In Season 2, the Parlor makes a grand appearance.
The Ebony Library
The Library is distinctive for its ebonized cabinetry, embellished with veneers cut to create an inlaid pattern. Japanese design and lacquer work inspired a fashion for polished black furniture, termed “ebonized” as it resembled the dark woods known as ebony. Master-cabinetmaker Daniel Pabst (American, born Germany, 1826–1910) was responsible for most of the woodwork in Glenview. Based in Philadelphia, Pabst was and is one of the most recognized Aesthetic Movement artisans.
The Great Hall
Much of the woodwork in the Great Hall and Dining Room was carried out by Daniel Pabst of Philadelphia. Trevor maintained close ties to that city and probably visited the Centennial Exhibition as did Charles Clinton, Glenview’s architect. The fireplace hardware and heating register grills for the house were purchased at the fair. The Great Hall also boasts a beautiful English encaustic tile floor by Maw and Co. and Minton fairy tale tiles designed by J. Moyr Smith.
The Parlor was on the cutting edge of fashion, reflecting the British influence of not only Charles Eastlake but also designers William Morris and Bruce Talbert. In keeping with the tenets of the Aesthetic Movement, the room was designed as a whole ensemble. Wallpaper, ceiling stencils, textiles and furnishings created a rich layering of pattern, color, and texture. Highlights of this room include Meissen china figure groups and an Italian marble sculpture of Faust and Marguerite.
Caroline Webster “Lina” Schermerhorn Astor, otherwise known as “The Mrs. Astor” or “Mrs. Astor,” was a prominent socialite from the latter half of the nineteenth century. She was also the leader of “The Four Hundred,” an elite group declared by Ward McAllister (played by Nathan Lane) to be “the only 400 people in fashionable New York Society.” The wife of William Backhouse Astor Jr., Mrs. Astor had five children, including Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, who perished in the sinking of the Titanic. In real life, the Astors lived in a home at 350 Fifth Avenue, where the Empire State Building stands today, before moving to a mansion at 841 Fifth Avenue at 65th Street.
Mrs. Astor was known as “the gatekeeper of high New York society,” and had a contentious relationship with the Vanderbilts. It is speculated that the interactions between Mrs. Astor and Bertha Russell on the show are based on Mrs. Astor’s real-life relationship with Alva Vanderbilt. Allegedly, Alva held an elaborate and well-attended costume ball and prohibited Mrs. Astor’s daughter from coming because her mother never formally called on the Vanderbilts. These actions forced Mrs. Astor to acknowledge the Vanderbilts and welcome them into the “elite” rung of society. This is mirrored in the show with the coming out ball of Gladys Russell in the Season 1 finale.
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