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Bonnet House, Part 1 [Jul. 10th, 2008|11:45 pm]
Trip Spam

This is Bonnet House, the estate of artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in Fort Lauderdale, FL. (Samples of Bartlett's work in the Smithsonian.)

An amateur architect, Bartlett designed the house himself and oversaw the building, circa 1920. I won't dwell much on the history of this historic home, as you can get all that from the link above, so I'll just deal with the aesthetics.

You enter through a bridge over a mangrove marsh...

which, from the boathouse, leads to the Intracoastal waterway. This was one way visitors might arrived.

That path leads you...

past the caretaker's house,

the servant's house,

and the orchid show house to enter Bonnet House from the rear courtyard.

Or guests might have arrived by dirt road, coming through The Desert Garden - an early example of xeriscaping (using native plants to conserve water and create sustainable landscaping).

Arriving that way brings you to the front entrance, leading into the house's beautiful courtyard. Some views of the courtyard:

There are many art objects scattered around the courtyard, including some statuary and a lot of South American, Indian, and African carvings.

There are also examples of the work of Frederic and his (third) wife, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett, an artist in her own right.

A work of Evelyn's. The coral in the foreground is the same piece featured in the painting.

A whimsical painting of Frederic's. This rustic self-portrait originally hung in his hunting lodge. Notice that Evelyn is depicted as having two left feet, and a foot where her hand should be. Apparently, Frederic didn't think she was a great dancer.

A ceiling mural that Frederic painted with Evelyn's assistance.

Frederic's mural of Haiti.

Underneath that particular mural, there's some gorgeous mosaic work Frederic did with shells from the private beach belonging to Bonnet House.

Finally, the view leaving the courtyard.

The house is actually maintained as the Bartletts left it, and contains a veritable museum of their beautiful artwork, but they won't let you take photos inside. However, there is still more to see. Tune in tomorrow for photos of the gorgeous grounds and the wildlife! (Including...monkeys!!!)

On to Part Two!