The Garden Spotter

Victoria Mansion at Christmas



Victoria Mansion is a pretty special place any time of year, but at Christmas it’s magical. The Portland estate, built for wealthy hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse in 1858, is considered an exemplary work of Pre Civil War architecture. And it is the perfect backdrop for Maine’s top floral designers to showcase their holiday artistry.

“Christmas at Victoria Mansion” is in its 33rd season, and this year’s theme is Currier & Ives, the 19th century print maker famous for its charming New England scenes. In keeping, designers used such objects as sleighs and sleigh bells, ice skates and top hats, and pine boughs and snowy owls throughout the home’s magnificent interior. As a museum docent pointed out, the estate’s green and red color palette, typical of Victorian era homes, is ideal for the holidays. img_1079-002 Above: The grand “flying staircase” in the stair hall is one of the dramatic points of the house, highlighted with a dark wood baluster and a stained glass window at the second floor landing. It is made awe-inspiring with twirls of white and silver, and a silvery-white snowy owl playing in a winter wonderland, all thanks to Decorations by Emerald City.

Above: The dining room was decorated with classic pine branches, enormous cones dangling here and there, and French china original to the home.

Victoria Mansion is considered a museum of American decorative art. Its Italian Villa style exterior was designed by New Haven architect Henry Austin, while the interior was commissioned by Gustave Herter, the famous 19th century interior decorator. Ninety percent of the original furnishings remain, but age and wear has led stewards of Victoria Mansion to begin replacing some of the contents, particularly textiles like drapes and carpeting.

Above: The tree in the parlor, by Harmon’s & Barton’s of Portland and Westbrook, is an homage to Currier & Ives’ “Skating Pond.”

The complete list of designers for Christmas at Victoria Mansion this year: Blossoms of Windham, Blue Elephant Events & Catering, Broadway Gardens, Campbell’s Landscape & Design, Christmas Light Pros, Dodge the Florist, Emerald City, Dan Gifford, Harmon’s & Barton’s, and KD Cole.

The event is open daily through January 8, 2017. Admission is $15 for adults. Victoria Mansion is located at 109 Danforth Street, Portland, Maine.

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