Wednesday, August 28, 2013

About Richmond's Monument Avenue

Maury Place at Monument is located at the intersection of Monument Avenue, West Franklin Street, and Belmont Avenue. Monument Avenue, which is the only street in the United States to be declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, may be one of the nation's most scenic streets, but its early years were fraught with uncertainty. In 1893, just three years after the statue of Robert E. Lee was erected near what is now the street's eastern boundary, a nationwide economic depression brought construction of the grand avenue to a halt. For the next dozen or so years, the Lee Monument stood in a vacant field beyond the western edge of the city.

As the economy recovered, construction resumed, and by 1907, the final form of the avenue had taken shape. Monument Avenue's planners envisioned a street that would convey the grandeur of Paris's Champs-Elysees. Over the course of decades, the street extended further west and now spans five miles. The avenue's number of statues grew to six, with the newest honoring Arthur Ashe, which was unveiled in 1996.

Georgian and Colonial Revival styles dominate the avenue's architecture, but several homes reflect European influences such as Italian Renaissance Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival. The Branch House, which is now home to the Virginia Center for Architecture, is the largest home on Monument Avenue. It is 27,000 square feet in size. The Tudor-Jacobean-style mansion was designed by John Russell Pope and was completed in 1919. It is located at 2501 Monument Avenue, and is a short walk from Maury Place.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fifty Works for Fifty States Exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

So who says you have to be super rich to build a super cool art collection? Consider the fabled New York couple whose collecting zeal is on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through October 20. The exhibit is entitled "The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States." Herbert, who died last year at 89, was a postal clerk all of his working life. His wife Dorothy, who is 13 years younger, was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library until she retired in 1990.

The Vogels started collecting art during the heyday of the minimal, conceptual and post minimal movements in their Upper East Side apartment soon after they wed in 1962. Decades later, they had amassed over 4000 works of art, primarily drawings, in their tiny apartment. Not only that, the Vogels shared their art with 20 exotic turtles and eight cats with names like Renoir, Corot, and Manet.

This current VMFA exhibit showcases a gift to the VMFA by the Vogels and consists of 50 works by 20 artists. It is displayed in the Museum's intimate Evans Court Gallery. With 50 works given to art museums in each of the 50 states, the Vogels have donated 2500 works by 177 artists. The Vogels donated 1100 works to the National Gallery, and they arrived in Washington, D.C. in five full-size moving vans! The Vogel collection is a kind of "time capsule" that gives a good sense of the exploration that was going on in American art in the 1970's and 80's. For more information, visit www.vmfa.museum. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is just a short walk from Maury Place at Monument.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Maymont Acquires Silver Bowl Owned by Dooleys

A silver fruit bowl that was a family heirloom when James and Sallie Dooley built Maymont in 1893 has been added to the museum collection. The bowl was produced between 1850 and 1860 by Philadelphia silversmith Peter L. Krider and sold in Richmond by Mitchell & Tyler, which was the jewelry company catering to Richmond's elites before the Civil War. According to family tradition, John and Sarah Dooley acquired the bowl and gave it to their son, James. It is an indicator of the prosperity of the Dooley family prior to the Civil War. The bowl will be on display this summer in the Maymont Mansion dining room. Maymont purchased the bowl from a Dooley family descendant; Krider pieces generally range in value from $5000 to $8000. James and Sallie Dooley left their estate and a collection of about 1000 original furnishings and works of art to the City of Richmond in 1925. Since 1975, the Maymont Foundation has acquired nearly 100 additional Dooley-owned objects for the collection. For additional information on Maymont, visit www.maymont.org. Maymont is just a short drive from Maury Place at Monument.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Sunday, August 18, 2013

City of Monuments

Say "monument" in Richmond, and you will most likely think of Monument Avenue, which is located right out our front door at Maury Place at Monument. Or maybe you will think of Capitol Square. Or the big equestrian statues throughout our city. But there is a whole other world of monuments out there! Some peer over rooftops, some jut out from walls, some hang from highways, occupy corners, or pop up in public parks.

These monuments are noted in a new book from Robert C. Layton, "Discovering Richmond Monuments: A History of River City Landmarks Beyond the Avenue." We have just ordered our copy for Maury Place! With this book as a starting point, you could plan your walking tour in the Fan near Monroe Park, learn more about the abstract sculptures on Main Street downtown, or find new meaning along the Canal Walk.
Check out the Richmond monuments on a Google map: http://rotj.word-press.com/statues-monuments/. For a monumental adventure on a Segway, you can also join in on tours of downtown monuments with River City Segs on August 24 and September 7. River City Segs is located at 1805 E. Grace Street; phone: 804-343-6105 or visit http://rivercitysegs.com.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument