Today a friend and I went to Gloucester to visit Beauport, the summer home of Henry Davis Sleeper, who was an early 20th-century interior designer. It's a glorious, eccentric, Arts and Crafts–style house with gardens and terraces on the water, and its 40 rooms are a Colonial Revival feast. The rooms are full of Sleeper's collections of glass, china, 18th-century lanterns and other antiques, and there are many porches, verandas, and wide expanses of windows overlooking the water.
It's a lovely place to visit on a breezy summer day, and we enjoyed our tour.
Here are some photos of the exterior and the garden:
We had lunch on a harborside deck in Rocky Neck, Gloucester's artist colony, and then we toured some galleries. I admired a photo of a cat in a large cooperative gallery, and it turned out that the artist was the person running the shop that day. When I told her the photo reminded me of the Boston School pastel-colored drawings of Lilian Westcott Hale, she generously gave me tips for achieving similar effects in Photoshop. I look forward to showing you the results.
Here's a shop with a welcoming garden:
We liked the way the flowers in this garden matched the old Ciera parked nearby:
Gloucester has so many aspects: the fishing and lobstering industry, historic homes, good restaurants, art galleries and craft shops, and it's old-fashioned but lively downtown area. It's only an hour away but its welcoming and relaxed attitude makes it seems light-years away from Boston.
I look forward to returning to visit the 18th-century Sargent House Museum, built for Judith Sargent Murray, who was a writer, philosopher, and very early women's-rights advocate. She was also a relative of John Singer, and there's a collection of his works. The house is only open on weekend afternoons.