Current Restoration Projects at Virginia Robinson Gardens
The Master Bedroom
The Master bedroom of Virginia Robinson has been repainted to its original color, a dusty rose. The newly painted soft green trim around the door jams now beautifully accents the trompe l’oeil painting above each doorway in the bedroom.[one_half] [/one_half] [one_half_last]
Upon restoration of Virginia’s vanity room, original faux marble trim that matches the dark green marble counter tops was discovered. The faux marble accent also matches the decorative painting above the vanity doorway. The plan now is to restore the faux marble back to its original state.
The pair of early 20th century, Japanese Red Crown Cranes, gracing the Great Lawn at Virginia Robinson Gardens, were gifted to Virginia Robinson by her dear friend, poet, novelist and screenwriter, Zoe Atkins (October 1886 to October 1958). Ms. Atkins, a renowned writer, wrote seventeen plays produced on Broadway, scripts for film, and helped launch Katharine Hepburn’s career, in the film, Christopher Strong (1933). Like Virginia, Zoe was from St. Louis, Missouri. The attached poem by Zoe, depicts her experience in the gardens that Virginia created on her estate (1911 – 1977), and her happy memories of the parties she attended. This poem was read in the entry hall of the main house at Virginia’s funeral in September 1977. You can read Zoe’s poem here: Poem
The date the cranes were gifted to Virginia by friend Zoe Atkins is speculated to be in the mid-1930’s, based on the state of deterioration of the cranes from the effects of the natural elements. They were clearly on site by the 1950’s, as they are depicted in photographs from the Robinson archive.
By 2014, the natural elements had taken their toll on the cranes’ metal bodies, particularly their ferrous metal legs. The cranes looked tenuous, and we feared they would fall over, causing further damage. The final funds required for restoration were provided by pledges from the patrons at the September 2015 Patron Party. The birds were boxed and taken to Packard Street in Los Angeles, the studio of RLS Conservation of Art and Architecture, for restoration. They remained in their studio for three months. During that time, the cranes were dissected into many smaller parts, so that the interior framework could be reinforced with new metal and existing metal, treated to reduce further oxidation (rust). They were then welded back together, and the exterior bronze surface was re-established. They are now totally restored and will grace the Great Lawn for all visitors of the gardens to enjoy.
The Pool Pavilion
Presently, you can find Phillip Cohen in the Pool Pavilion restoring the stenciled ceiling. He has been on and off the property here for 19 years, and does excellent faux artwork. You can see how Philip has been able to pull out the original red accents in the wood ceiling beams, where it had been covered by a build-up of dirt. Philip’s website: www.phillipwcohen.com
The pool has been drained, and preparations are underway to clean and replace broken tiles with replicas to match the original design.
The restoration projects at Virginia Robinson Gardens have been made possible due in part to the generous contributions made by donors at the 2015 Patron Gala. We would like to thank those donors for their charitable support:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Anderson
Mr. Jon Borland – Salvatore Ferragamo
Hon. Lili Bosse and Mr. Jon Bosse
Ms. Alison Brower
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Burdorf
Ms. Barbara Casey
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony U. Choe
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Goldstein
Mr. and Mrs. Page Jenkins
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Joyce
Mr. Tarun Kapoor
Dr. and Mrs. Jack Kavanaugh
Ms. Irene Kim
Mr. and Mrs. Jon Kutler
Mr. Allen Lenard
Mr. and Mrs. Joel Marcus
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Reinstein
Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Ring
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Rosenfeld
Mr. and Mrs. George Royce
Mr. and Mrs. Semih Sinik
Mr. Jeff Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Donald Stine
Mr. Tsuyoshi Todo
Ms. Madeleine Clare Wagner
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth J. Weiss
Many thanks also to Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Alpert and Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Klein for donating the new patio furniture that beautifully accentuates the Display Rose Garden.
Post by Timothy Lindsay
Superintendant, Virginia Robinson Gardens