Tour Olana, an exotic historic Hudson River mansion constructed in the Victorian Moorish style.
Olana is the Eastern-style mansion constructed by artist Frederic Edwin Church from 1872 to 1891 on a hilltop overlooking the Hudson River, near Hudson New York. Church was a leading painter of the Hudson River School, the first art movement devoted American landscape paintings. Church and his wife Isabel were avid Orientalists and collectors of Middle Eastern furniture, carpets, metalwork and ceramics as well as old master paintings, and Mexican art works.
The front door of the house is flanked by two tile-lined niches lined with vividly colored Middle Eastern-inspired tile, which looks as fresh today as it did more than 100 years ago. Over the door is an inscription of welcome in Arabic.
Photographing the main hallway is forbidden but I managed to snap two views, please forgive the blurry images. Persian rugs and Middle Eastern furniture in the central room were collected on a two-year long Middle Eastern trip taken by the Churches. The upholstered side chair, right, is part of an Aesthetic movement suite by Herter Bros. Architectural details and doors were stenciled according to designs by Church in acid green, aqua, rose, deep purple and charcoal. Evening entertainment was conducted on the landing which functioned as a stage– note the curtain.
Interior view of Olana living room, historic home of Frederic Edwin Church and his wife Isabel. Indian textiles cover tables and daybed. None of the furnishings have changed since the family lived in the house. Church died in 1900. Members of the family continued to live in the house until 1966, when it was purchased by a conservancy in partnership with the State of New York.
Elaborately colored Egyptian-style pillars [above] adorn the “piazza,” which is the name the Churches gave the large porch with a panoramic view of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, where they gathered before dinner.
A small porch off the main room has a Victorian tile floor, Moroccan tile baseboard with a Moorish Garden style blue and white inset wall mural.
The tallest tower at Olana is a landmark that can be seen for miles across the Hudson Valley.
The Victorians were famous for garden furniture. This twig bench has been kept in pristine condition and is a stunning example of naturalistic outdoor furniture made from material available on the estate.
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