— MORAN STUDIO: VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS PARTY, 1890s … NEW 12.20.18


The turret room with its classic Queen Anne fenestration, holds the children’s tree decked out with German figural glass ornaments and candy canes.

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The Moran Studio was built for Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran in 1884, overlooking East Hampton Village’s Town Pond.  Constructed with many architectural elements, removed from demolition sites near their New York home on 17th Street, the house was decidedly influenced by the new Queen Anne style.  After remaining in the Moran family until the late 1940’s, the house was lived in by only one other family until restoration started in 2013.  “The Studio” as the Morans called it, opened to the public last summer.  It is managed by the East Hampton Historical Society and celebrates the life and times of the Morans, the beginning of our local art and summer colony with yearly changing exhibitions and several period rooms. 

Though it is unlikely that the Morans were in residence during Decembers, the present exhibition suggests the feeling and flavor of an 1890s Victorian Christmas party with all the garlands, tea cakes and presents that typify a Dickensian celebration.  The Studio is located at 229 Main Street, East Hampton Village, and is opened on Saturdays until the end of December. Hours are 11:00 am until 2:00 pm.  Suggested donation is $5.00. 

 

The main studio tree continues the holiday excess with a spread of turn-of-the-century presents including a folk art tin squirrel cage, pond boat, wicker potty chair and a paint decorated sled with cast iron swan’s neck finials.

 

The tall ceilinged studio room has always been the focus and soul of this combination summer cottage and art studio.  For the December winter celebrations this room’s pride and joy is the 14 foot balsam fir.  The room is furnished with both Moran artifacts and items from the early summer colony cottages.  The walls are hung with etchings and paintings by many of the artistic members of the Moran family. 

 

These tiny sterling silver items were given to the Historical Society by Mrs. Lion Gardiner in the 1960’s.  She called them Christmas toys and they came from Gardiner’s Island.  They were most probably souvenirs from the Gardiner family’s many grand tours and were made between 1888 and 1907.  Each item is date stamped and hallmarked by their respective makers.  The tiny and highly detailed items are from France, the Netherlands and England.  This is the first time they have all been exhibited together.

 

A view of The Studio’s main floor from the balcony.

 

The top of a Colonial Revival mahogany Queen Ann dressing table is laid out for an afternoon party with American pressed lead pattern glass and silver-plate coffee set from about 1900.

 

The big walnut oval extension pedestal-based dining room table is all set for high tea with a remarkable jasper-ware cheese dome. 

 

The neo-classical Colonial Revival sideboard is filled with pieces of gold-banded white French porcelain, blown glass decanters and English brass candlesticks on rare pair of turned mahogany pedestals.  The walls are lined with original etching by both Mary Nimmo Moran and Thomas Moran.

 

Bedroom number one is hosting a wide collection of antique dolls, toys and games; all from old East Hampton families.

 

The master bedroom has a beautiful view of Town Pond from its bay-window. 

 

The complicated ceiling of the Moran’s bedroom creates a surprising cubic environment, with angles going every which-way, the room creates one of the most interesting of The Studio’s many interior spaces.  The furnishings include a marble-top center table from about 1845 and a highly carved cherry Federal design rope bed with welcoming pineapple carved finials.  The bed is from an old Ocean Avenue 1880’s estate and is attributed to New England, circa 1820.

 

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www.easthamptonhistory.org

Intro + captions courtesy of Richard Barons.

Photos © Jeff Heatley.

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