We recently had the pleasure of attending ‘Mansion in May’ a designer showhouse and gardens organized by The Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center.
While interior photography wasn’t permitted the real design star of this showhouse has to be Glynallyn itself, the English Tudor Revival castle built between 1913 and 1917 by architect Charles I. Berg for the George Marshall Allen family.
The grand entrance portal as well as other elements where copied from Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire England. A sixteenth century castle visited by King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, James I, and Charles I. A close look at the masonry details reveals the irregular handmade bricks used to impart a sense of age.
The elaborate brickwork patterns on the mansion’s sixteen different chimneys were also copied from the English castle. The attention to detail even extends to the roof where antiqued slates of uneven thickness were purposely designed to appear centuries old.
The massive stained glass window at the center of the façade also replicated from Compton Wynyates, lights the soaring Great Hall within, where a rolling wall panel opens to reveal a secret staircase of uneven stones leading down to a vaulted stone dungeon.
The estate’s 7.5 acres have been beautifully landscaped with a number of lush garden spaces that have an almost “Alice In Wonderland’ like effect against the Tudor architecture.
This charming water feature stands in the gardens behind the house overlooking the deep wooden glen.
Here another elegant water feature trickles at the center of a deep grotto-like garden from the 1920’s restored for the showhouse after years of neglect.
Water originally played an even bigger role in the garden design of Glynallyn, which once featured a moat complete with bridges and lushly landscaped island gardens.
A period photo from a 1922 Harpers Bazaar article shows lily pads floating in the moat surrounding the entrance to a romantic gothic cloister.
Extending along one side of the rear terrace here is the same dramatic cloister seen today with the moat filled in long ago.
On the other side of the cloister a knight stands guard next to an entrance of leaded stained glass.
The house features endless banks of leaded stained glass windows, many of which were purposely broken and repaired to again impart a sense of age. The same reason stucco between the half timbers was purposely chipped off in some corners exposing the brick beneath.
One of the finest windows on the house has to be this intricately carved two-story stone bay overlooking the terrace and glen.
Inside the 32,000 square foot manor a veritable army of interior designers and artists have created 41 inspiring environments from the aforementioned dungeon turned jazz club to Mr. Allen’s onetime photography studio tucked in the attic rafters.
The showhouse is open throughout the month of May and is a rare opportunity to experience one of Morristown's last surviving Gilded Age mansions never before opened for public tours all while supporting a worthy cause. And if you should find yourself in the market this finely crafted castle is currently for sale at the bargain price of 5.7 million.
Browse the most eclectic mix of unique antique and vintage home accessories from the comfort and convenience of home! Enhance the design of any interior with Knickerbocker’s carefully curated collection of American, European, Asian, and African fine and decorative arts. Our ever-changing inventory features an array of objects and artifacts from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern including lamps, sconces, art pottery, fine china, porcelain, crystal, art glass, prints, oil paintings, sculpture, folk art, primitives, nautical décor, and much more!
Something about the rusted patina on this antique wrought iron candelabra and sconces perfectly compliments the golden oak of the old Mission furniture.
Religious art and artifacts also lend themselves well to the mix; especially the deep orange background of a Spanish Colonial style painting of the Madonna and Child and a gold gilt triptych icon depicting the same theme.
Beneath the triptych sits an elaborately painted Indian jewelry box atop an elegant antique Egyptian Revival casket.
Flanking the oil painting is a charming pair of Staffordshire style lions, as well as saint figures that include a colorful vintage plaster statue of Saint Jude.
The other antique saint figure is carved from wood with a romantically distressed finish that includes traces of the original gold gilt. At his feet sits another golden relic, this one a wingless Victorian cherub, behind which the bold architectural scrollwork of a fragment of hand carved wood Rococo molding makes a unique and interesting vertical element.
Crowning the vignette is a tiny antique Roe Deer antler trophy signed by the hunter in a scrawling hand and dated 1898.