I do hope Castle Hill Inn will not be disturbed by approaching Hurricane Sandy. It has weathered many severe storms in its 138 years and even lost its turret back in the early 1900s. An exact replica of the original turret has recently been built, and it would be a darn shame if Frankenstorm were to destroy it.
Castle Hill Inn was built as a summer residence in 1874 for the renowned scientist and explorer, Alexander Agassiz. There’s not much information about the house’s architecture history, but there’s plenty of information on Agassiz. From what I learned touring the earlier Newport mansions, I would say this building’s design is a good example of shingle style architecture with the interiors influenced by the English Aesthetic style which was very much in vogue during the mid to late 1800s. I’ve had to do some homework since I’ve returned to understand these movements. The Aesthetic Movement in the decorative arts could be considered a sub category of the Arts and Crafts movement. My explanation may be a bit over simplified, but researching and understanding all the nuances gave me a major case of tired head.
Agassiz decorated his house with the best of Chinese and Japanese art and furnishings—all of which were elements of the Aesthetic style. Today Castle Hill Inn’s interiors still adhere to this style with elements such as William Morris wallpaper and fabrics; ebonized wood with gilt highlights; far Eastern influence; a prominent use of nature, especially flowers, birds, ginkgo leaves, and peacock feathers; and blue and white porcelain and other fine china.
Update:On Thursday, November 1, Brian Young, the General Manager, left a comment saying “Hello, and thanks for your kind words and well wishes. I’m happy to report that, although we suffered some beach erosion and landscape damage from the effects of Sandy, we had no lasting damage and are open for business as always. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.”