On Saturday April 18, 2015 Dick Jenrette, Peter Kenny and Classical American Homes Preservation Trust hosted a special day of art and architecture at Millford, sponsored by Ronald Long and Kinga Bender of Charlton Hall Galleries in Columbia, South Carolina, and made possible by the meticulous preparations of Site Supervisor Louie Hall and his team. The day was marked by intermittent, gentle spring rain and soft-filtered light through thin overcast clouds that only served to accentuate the beauty of the architecture and the surrounding landscape.
Throughout the course of the day 132 guests wandered freely about the principal rooms of the house where they were treated to commentary on the history of the architecture, interior furnishings, and the life and times of the original owners, John Laurence and Susan Hampton Manning, as well as casual conversations with Dick, Peter and Margize, who were happy to share with them their intimate knowledge of Millford. The weather cooperated enough for casual strolls by some visitors down the long drive to the original front gates and the porter’s lodge, and for others visits to the gothic revival springhouse, or through the formal boxwood gardens. Delicious box lunches were enjoyed by many throughout the afternoon, who dined al fresco in the gardens or on the lawn and the front and back porches. By 3:00 pm, most of the guests had departed, satisfied, we hope, by a tasty repast of beautiful art and architecture, history, and delicious southern fried chicken, lemonade, and banana pudding.
At 4:00 pm our Friends of Millford benefit, featuring a special behind-the scenes tour led by Dick Jenrette and Peter Kenny, that included a more in-depth study of the architectural history of Millford and hands-on study of the original Millford furniture got underway. Using facsimile printed images, Dick and Peter revealed the source of much of the interior architectural detail as Minard Lafever’s Beauties of Modern Architecture published in New York in 1835, and discussed the interaction that occurred between master builder Nathaniel Potter and John Laurence Manning during the course of its construction between 1839 and 1841.
Next they turned to the Grecian plain style furniture the Mannings purchased in 1841 from Duncan Phyfe & Son for Millford, pointing out how its ornamental restraint, flowing silhouettes and deep rich rosewood, mahogany and walnut veneers set it apart in contrast yet still harmonized with the stark white, monumental, Greek revival interiors. Every room on the first and second floors was visited and discussed with plenty of time for thoughtful questions and further insights from our guests, as well as, of course, a few good laughs.
By 5:30 pm everyone adjourned to the front porch for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served amidst the Millford’s glorious colonnade of Corinthian capitals. What a perfect ending to a splendid day of classical art and architecture.