Victorian Society Course Explores Newport’s Architectural Treasures

An unusual, stunning tile at Greenvale Vineyards' ferme orne

In its 32nd year under the learned direction of Richard Guy Wilson, the Victorian Society of America Newport Summer School highlights architecture, arts, landscape design, and social history, as well as historic preservation. The course consists of lectures and site visits to important public and private spaces — and fun!


Pauline Metcalf & Richard Guy Wilson

Newport’s  program is based at the campus of Salve Regina University and takes full advantage of Newport's rich cultural heritage, from the 17th to early 20th century. This year, the participants were from all over the United States (even Wyoming), London and Portugal.

Elsa Catarina Rodrigues from Lisbon, Portugal, Robert Harper of Mattituck, New York, and Jann Word of Astoria, New York

In addition to covering the architecture of well-known buildings — the Colony House of Richard Munday, Trinity Church, Chateau-sur-Mer and the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, the tour includes private homes of historical and architectural interest and the works of distinguished architects of the past, including McKim Mead & White and  Richard Morris Hunt. Each year, there are two out-of-town bus tours that visit estimable sites in Providence, Pawtucket, North Easton and either Fall River, or New Bedford. Massachusetts.  The jaunts are enjoyed by the class (think field trip!).


Janet Self from Cincinnati, Ohio & Nancy Carlyle, of Ipswich, Massachusetts who is with the New England Historical Society.

Scholarly lectures and copious suggested reading lists are given out, so complete they probably could not be accomplished in a lifetime.  Categories include Architecture, Painting, Decorative Arts and Landscape related to Newport:, Novels and poetry with Newport settings:, Social history and memories of Newport, etc.; and Tacky and Gossipy: a very, very short selection.


Architectural historians Richard Guy Wilson and John Tschirch

On hand throughout were historians and authors John Tschirch and Pauline Metcalf, both speaking with the participants at the closing reception at Greenvale Vineyards, whose main house is an excellent example of a ferme orne –ornamental farm--for a gentleman farmer.  Designed as a rural retreat, it is based upon Robert Morris Copeland's Country Life (1859) which John Barstow owned; the book is in the Redwood Library. The interior is well preserved and contains examples of English decoration from the period, a perfect final spot for the last reception.


Pamela Larsen of San Franciso

The participants wandered through the lovely waterfront house, where wine and hors d’oeuvres were served, then went to the remodeled barn for a finish.


The VSA Tour participants gather in the foyer

At that evening’s “graduation”, students were toasted, and a poem was written and read by John Howe (based loosely on the Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe)  The first stanza is:

                       Battle Hymn of Newport Class of 2018

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Guy
He is trampling through buildings with a twinkle in his eye
He is gazing at the barge boards with his head up to the sky
His troops go marching on!


                                                                       —  L.P.

For information about the Victorian Society and its Summer Schools in Newport, London  and Chicago, go to


Richard Guy Wilson toasts the Tour participants


The "Ferme Orme" -- gentleman's farmhouse -- at Greenval Vineyards





Tour participants with Professor Wilson discussing the architectural points of the house



Merrily Gumpel of Wapiti, Wyoming and Emily Fearnbach of Winson-Salem, North Carolina enjoying the tour





Pauline Metcalf is dazzled by the ferme-orme house, with Nancy Carlyle, of New England Historical Society





A room with Civil War memorabilia




  To purchase an image, contact Linda(a)  All images copyrighted


















Past Headlines

Sweet Rides and Wheels Party at Audrain Auto Museum

Juan Roldan ... more »

Jessica Hagen Fine Arts Displays American Craft Furniture

It is furniture th ... more »

Victorian Society Course Explores Newport’s Architectural Treasures

An unusual, ... more »




NEWPORT SEEN:  "Best Online Media Creation"


"Best Online Writing" 

                         -- CT Press club & National League of Press Women