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Doris used the Dining Room at Rough Point differently than her parents’ use in the 1920s. While the positioning of the chandeliers suggests a large central table was intended for this space, Doris Duke preferred to entertain on a smaller scale, putting a table for eight closer to the windows facing the ocean.
The furnishings in this room offer a rare glimpse of what Rough Point might have looked like when the Dukes first summered here in 1924. The pair of Flemish tapestries and the Renaissance painting of the Annunciation above the fireplace were all purchased in 1923 in New York specifically for Rough Point. As in other rooms, however, Doris Duke added her own personal touches throughout the years, most notably in the ceramics found in the room.
Beauvais tapestry with the arms of France and Navarre
Della Robbia fruit baskets
Large Cizhou baluster jar
Tiffany swan centerpiece
Tapestry with proclamation scene
According to the records of the Beauvais manufactory, this tapestry was woven between September 1740 and May 1741. The design is based on a painting by Francois Boucher now in the Palais de Justice in Rouen, France, and it is the only version of the tapestry made from this pattern. Doris Duke bought the tapestry in New York in 1965 from the estate auction of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice, whose Newport residence, Miramar, was just a few houses up Bellevue Avenue from Rough Point.
Doris Duke purchased this pair of earthenware fruit baskets, which include lizards, frogs, and insects in their decoration, in 1960, and they have occupied a place of honor in the Dining Room ever since.
When Doris Duke bought this early Chinese jar in 1955, she expressed a shared passion with her parents for Asian ceramics, but at the same time signaled a departure from their narrowly focused interest in later eighteenth-century export ware. As a result, Rough Point is filled with a wonderful range of Chinese pottery from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
Made by Tiffany in 1874 and exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, the silver swan was a latecomer to the collection of Doris Duke. She bought it at auction in 1988, and was so fond of it that she kept it with her on her annual cycle of journeys to homes in Honolulu, Beverly Hills, Newport, New York, and New Jersey.
One of a pair of early sixteenth-century Flemish tapestries purchased for Rough Point in 1923. When Doris Duke closed and emptied the house of its contents in 1954, these tapestries went to Duke University where they were hung for display in the main Library. They were returned to Rough Point in 1957 and since then have hung at either end of the dining table, which Doris Duke positioned to take full advantage of the ocean views from the eastern facing windows.