NRF promotes and invests in the architectural heritage of the Newport community, the traditional building trades, and Doris Duke’s fine and decorative arts collections, for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all.
As a leader in the preservation of early American architecture, NRF supports research and education in areas directly related to its collections and issues of critical concern to the field of historic preservation.
Tour Doris Duke’s art-filled mansion and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the extensive grounds, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Open April to November.
Experience the only museum in the world specializing in 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts.
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Newport Restoration Foundation holds one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by a single organization anywhere in the United States.
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When James Buchanan Duke bought Rough Point in 1922, the Great Hall looked considerably different. It was dark wood from floorboards to ceiling rafters, with openings to the second floor through arches and balconies that fit the English manor style of the house as originally designed around 1890 for Frederick W. Vanderbilt by Boston architects Peabody & Stearns.
Horace Trumbauer, the Philadelphia architect whom Mr. Duke hired to renovate and enlarge the house, “lightened” the space with marble floors, molded plaster ceilings, and space for hanging the Duke family’s large works of art, such as the three large Renaissance tapestries purchased for this space by James Duke in 1923.
Doris Duke used the Great Hall to combine her own art purchases in the 1960s and 1970s with those inherited from her parents.
Wingchairs in the William and Mary style
Covered Jar depicting a celebration of longevity by the Daoist Eight Immortals
Portrait of Mountjoy Blount, Earl of Newport and George, Lord Goring by Van Dyck
Portrait of Raphael Franco by Gainsborough
Infant Christ Asleep by Duquesnoy
Portrait of a Young Woman by Bol
Tapestry with scenes of amorous couples
These four wingchairs were recently reupholstered, and when the old fabric was removed, our curator and conservator found a surprise. What were thought to be 19th- or early 20th-century reproductions of a distinct 17th-century style of armchair, turned out to be mid 20th-century copies that are so poorly constructed under the upholstery, they might have been intended as props for the stage or a movie set. Certainly they look great in and are appropriately scaled for the Great Hall at Rough Point, where they add a bit of whimsy and flair. Perhaps that is all that mattered to Doris Duke as well!
Doris Duke had a great fondness for antique ceramics and even went to the trouble of learning how to properly repair them. This piece probably appealed to her both for its complicated technique, known as fahua -- with an outer layer of turquoise blue openwork over a solid container -- and for its subject matter, the Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology celebrating the birthday of the god of longevity in the immortal land, depicted with pine trees and clouds over waves.
This is one of two double portraits painted by Anthony Van Dyck for the two men depicted here, one for each. The other portrait is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was purchased by Doris Duke in 1963 and was her first major purchase of Old Master paintings and the perfect complement to her father's collection of 18th-century portraits by British painters.
James B. Duke purchased this portrait of Jewish gem merchant Raphael Franco at auction in London in 1910. From 1912 to 1957, it hung in the library at the Duke house in New York. It hung there even after Doris Duke gifted the house to New York University in 1957, coming to Rough Point some time after 1970.
This intricately decorated chest was originally used to display special personal treasures, such as natural history specimens, gemstones, and small souvenirs from travels. Several years ago, Rough Point curatorial staff were delighted to discover a secret compartment hidden inside, intended for safely storing documents. Doris Duke purchased the chest in Paris in 1965.
Ferdinand Bol studied in Amsterdam with Rembrandt from 1636 to 1641 and later became one of the most successful portraitists in The Netherlands. The sitter of this portrait is unknown. Doris Duke purchased the painting at auction in New York in 1971.
Shown here is one of a set of three tapestries bought by James B. Duke in 1923, shortly after purchasing Rough Point. All three tapestries have scenes that evoke nobility in Renaissance Europe, including couples strolling and riding horses surrounded by musicians, a coronation, and a royal engagement.