Artists colonies bring to mind enchanted getaways, places to communicate with the muse and rub shoulders with artists and poets. For many years, such a place existed about two hours north of Boston, and this new book gives a panoramic view of this mountain village. While the town may have only 1,500 residents, it's known for its lovely homes, encyclopedic in style, ranging from Cape Cod cottages to Italian villas to Shingle-style beauties.
Late nineteenth-century Boston Brahmins headed there for the summer and hired the best architectural firms in Boston and New York to construct their summer "cottages." The short list of architects includes Charles A. Platt, Peabody & Stearns, Rotch and Tilden, Henry Vaughan and Lois Lilley Howe.
Out of the 100 or so photographs in this book, the grandest and most imposing Shingle-style house was built in 1888 by Peabody & Stearns for Eliot Leighton, a railroad magnate. In 1979, Loring Catlin, a great-grandnephew of Leighton's, decided to remove the servants' wing and hired Robert A.M. Stern, then a Columbia University professor, to finish the end wall. Morgan writes, "Dublin is doubly blessed by having both a restored Shingle style landmark and an attractive example of Stern's work."
Maybe the most innovative house belongs to Daniel V. Scully, a Yale student of Charles Moore. His home is not just a tribute to Shingle style, but also reflects America's love of automobiles. The kitchen looks like the hood of a 1940s Pontiac. Morgan writes, "It faces a smaller Greek temple, wherein is a dragster, the engine of which has been replaced by a woodstove; the route connecting the two buildings is outlined by a gasoline station sign and flanking rows of ornamental gazing balls." Certainly it's a one-of-a-kind.
This 158-page book is impressive in its research, done by William Morgan, and beautifully published by David R. Godine. It offers a wonderful mix of history, architecture and down-to-earth narrative.