One of the first great mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, is chateau-sur-Mer, which was built in 1851 as a mansion for William Shepard Of Wetmore, who made a fortune on Chinese trade. For decades, it was the venue for newport’s most luxurious parties, as well as the most royal mansion in the area for four decades, all the way to the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s.
William Wetmore was born in 1801. At the age of fourteen, he was hired by the merchant ship “Fame” which sailed to England, South America and the East Indies. In 1823, he ran aground in Valparaiso, Chile, and joined Richard Allsop’s trading company from Middletown, Connecticut. This led to a successful partnership that lasted several years until his retirement in 1829.
On the advice of his doctor, who believed that the move was good for his health, he went to Canton, China, in 1833 and founded his own trading company, Wetmore Company. His trading house prospered despite the fact that he opposed the opium trade in the years leading up to the opium war – unlike many American merchants in the Cantonese trade zone who tried to isolate Chinese officials from the rest of their country to prevent the spread of opium. Corruption. Western influences.
Wetmore has grown into one of the largest trading houses in the Far East, selling mainly tea, silk and spices. During his stay in Asia, he acquired a rich collection of Chinese antiques, porcelain and porcelain. He returned to America and retired to Newport, Rhode Island, where he purchased 15 acres of hillside land for his estate.
Built as a popular Italian-style house at the time, the Chateau-sur-Mer is one of the finest examples of luxury Mid-19th century Victorian architecture in America. Seth Bradford was the architect of the original estate, built between 1851 and 1852 with exquisite Italian woodwork, neo-Egyptian and Japanese stencil wallpaper and Chinese porcelain. Located on a picturesque hill, the original owners sold the coastal property downstairs, where breakers and other “gilded era” Newport mansions were later built.
Wetmore gave him his collection of “weird and interesting” Chinese porcelain and lacquer furniture from Asia, which gives the interior such rich richness. Unlike most summer cottages built in Newport in the 1850s, Chateau-sur-Mer was a year-round mansion as a house.
It was the venue for major events such as the 1857 “F’te champ’tre,” a huge picnic in the countryside for more than 2,000 guests. Three generations of the Wetmore family turned to the country’s best architects and landscape designers to make Chateau-sur-Mer the most majestic mansion of its time in Newport.
William Wetmore’s son, George Peabody Ofe, who later became a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, inherited the mansion in 1862. In 1869 he married Edith Keteltas and commissioned the architect Richard Morris Hunt to renovate the estate between 1870-1873, when he and his wife were on a long European vacation. Between 1876 and 1880, Hunt would make more annexes. He turned the estate into a luxurious French castle from the Second Empire, adding a steeply pitched attic roof, decorative stucco cornices and intricate brass cornices that brought to America major design trends of the second half of the 19th century. 19th century.
George Peabody Wetmore was an active participant in Republican politics and made an impressive career as governor of Rhode Island and a United States senator. He was actively involved in the development of Narragansett Bay as a naval base.
The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1968 and purchased in 1969 by the Newport County Environmental Protection Society, which recently completed a major renovation of the roof, wallpaper, stencils and furniture for several million dollars. We would.
Located at 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, Chateau-sur-Mer is open to the public with excursions. Chateau-sur-Mer is the first of the royal estates to open the “gilded era” of Newport’s “gilded era” on top of the hill. It is one of the main historic luxury homes of Newport, Rhode Island.