America's Eden: Newport Through the Ages


America's Eden: Newport Through the Ages

When: November 16, 2022 | 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Where: The Newport Art Museum | 76 Bellevue Ave in Newport, RI

Lecture will be held in person and virtually on Zoom

"America's Eden: Newport Through the Ages", with Architectural Historian and Honorary Member, Garden Club of America, John Tschirch

Newport, Rhode Island has been often referred to as “The Eden of America.” This richly illustrated lecture series celebrates the publication of America’s Eden: Newport Landscapes Through the Ages (2022). Lectures will explore over three centuries of landscape design, literature, and art that have been created in this verdant place. With garden shovel and spade, pen, brush, paint, and camera, generations of gardeners, nursery owners, writers, and artists have literally and figuratively shaped the land. Among them were renowned figures such as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons, writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry James, the painter Childe Hassam, and pioneering photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston. The result of their work is an extraordinary heritage, a vision of human-made Eden through the ages.

LECTURE IV: “The Gilded Age”

In this final lecture, Tschirch will explore how monumental architecture and formal gardens made their dramatic appearance in Newport in the 1890s, when classical pavilions and parterres transformed the city’s windswept cliffs and meadows. This lecture examines the era’s elaborate gardens and the estate gardeners who formed a vibrant creative community.

Lecture will be followed by Q&A with John Tschirch, sale and book signing of America’s Eden: Newport Landscapes Through the Ages.

About John Tschirch

“Every place has a tale to tell.”

John Tschirch is an architectural historian, writer, teacher and Honorary Member of the Garden Club of America. His latest books include America’s Eden: Newport Landscapes through the Ages (2022) and Newport: The Artful City (2020), which received the Victorian Society of America Book Award in 2021. John received his M.A. (1986) in Architectural History and Historic Preservation from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. His thirty-year career in the preservation and study of historic landmarks and landscapes across the globe has led him on treks to French chateaux, English castles, Italian villas, Austrian palaces, Croatian fortresses, Argentinian mansions and the Gilded Age houses of America. Currently, he teaches the theory and history of design at Rhode Island School of Design, advises on historic preservation projects, and has entered the world of historical fiction writing, inspired by his travels, with the publication of Gods and Girls: Tales of Art, Seduction and Obsession (2019).

John’s work in preserving and interpreting historic places has been featured in the Magazine Antiques, Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler and he has appeared on the A&E documentary series, America’s Castles. From 1986 to 2013, he served the Preservation Society of Newport County, first as Director of Education and later as Director of Museum Affairs and Architectural Historian, overseeing the curatorial, conservation, education and research activities at the organizations eleven historic house museums and gardens. He has published essays on history and socio-cultural issues for The Public Humanist (2018-19), “The New Thing at Newport: The Tiffany Glass Wall at Kingscote” in The Magazine Antiques (January 2013), the essay, “Newport Cottages” for The Encyclopedia of New England Culture (Yale University Press, 2005) and “Newport” in Parisian Palaces of La Belle Epoque (Paris 1992). He was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Garden Club of America in 2012 for his contributions to the research and restoration of historic landscapes. In recognition of his service to historic preservation, he received the 2013 Frederick C. Williamson Professional Leadership Award from the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission.

The preservation of heritage sites of international significance is of foremost interest to John. He has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad on architecture, landscapes and historic cities, from the Attingham Conference in London to Yale University’s Mellon Center Seminar on 18th Century French Design and the UNESCO sponsored conference on Architecture and Culture in Buenos Aires.

Taken from the Newport Art Museum

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