Victoria Mansion was recently the lucky recipient of some remarkable objects originally owned by the house’s first owners, Ruggles and Olive Morse. The generous gifts of Dr. Robert H.L. Lipsky, the great-great grandnephew of Ruggles, which include two objects currently on view during the Christmas season, are among the highlights of our year.
In the Parlor, in the center of the circular ottoman, is a bronze-patinated spelter statue of “Lorelei” by Friedrich Wilhelm Engelhard (pictured above). Dated 1852, the figure is after the sculptor’s marble version that was exhibited at London’s Crystal Palace in 1851. Lorelei was a legendary nymph who lived on top of a steep rock in the Rhine River. Her song was so alluring that no one could resist its pull, and anyone sailing close to the rock would perish. As an embodiment of the perils of the sea, Engelhard’s “Lorelei” fit perfectly into this year’s holiday theme.
Another gift from Mr. Lipsky also offered insight into “Christmas in the City by the Sea.” It is a mid-nineteenth-century China Trade trunk, made of camphor wood, that has painted inscriptions showing it belonged to Olive Morse. In decorating the Red Bedroom, designer Dan Gifford chose to interpret Maine’s connections with the China Trade, so look for the trunk at the foot of the bed in that room.
We are very grateful to Dr. Lipsky for these remarkable objects. His other gifts will be put on view for the summer season–stay tuned for more information on these incredible objects!