Thursday, December 26, 2013


Library of the Darwin D. Martin House (Photo, c1910, courtesy of the University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo)

As the restoration of the Martin House moves forward it has been necessary to scrutinize amateur photographs like this one (above) in order to recover or simulate the interior of the house as the Martins inhabited it. Murky as it is, this photograph carries some valuable insights: hefty drapes for the large clear window facing Jewett Avenue (probably for privacy); two sets of portieres at the right that would have closed off the library from the adjacent living room (important in a house without walls); an upholstered chair at the far right and a wicker chair to the right of the library table (neither of which appears on Wright's furniture plan); a barrel chair at the left; and the faint outlines of an art glass table lamp against the large window (probably the one in the Martin House collection). The finish on the wooden beams and trim is noticeably glossy; there is evidence of flowering plants right and left. Color, of course, is missing though Wright is known to work exclusively in autumnal colors during the Prairie period. The image below,  an interior rendering of the Thaxter Shaw House in Montreal, never built, is a rare surviving example of  the color in a Wright interior; note the wisteria fireplace. For more on the Thaxter Shaw House see  For more on the Martin House library why not visit?

Living room, Thaxter Shaw House (project) for Montreal, 1906 (Photo: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation/Avery Library, Columbia University)

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