History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

01 May 2017

The world of Gilded Deceit - Research at the Met

My daughter Mélanie I just got back from a wonderful trip to New York City, where, in addition to meeting with the great team at NYLA, I got to do some fabulous research at the Metropolitan Museum. The period rooms at the Met are a treasure trove. I loved the furnished rooms in both British Decorative Arts and The American Wing (above Mélanie and I are in front of the façade at the entrance to American Wing's rooms). But on this trip I was also fascinated by Italian pieces that could furnish Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch's villa on Lake Como and the other villas in which my forthcoming Gilded Deceit is set.

The Rannochs' villa dates to the 16th century, but just like their houses in London and Scotland in would contain pieces from a variety of eras, including some like this 18th century furniture. And various parts of their villa would have been remodeled in different eras, so some could resemble this 18th room from Palazzo Sagredo: 

The Thurston villa where some key scenes take place is newer and has ceilings similar to this one:

And there are numerous scene on terraces with marble tiled tables. I loved finding this table from Farnese Palace by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola c. 1565-1573:

Have you ever walked into a museum and felt scenes from a book come to life?

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Blogger Unknown said...

No, I haven't walked into a museum and pictured a scene from a book, but I will now. I love the way that you have pointed out how you do research in museums in this and other posts. It really helps to bring historical fiction alive. One of the things I enjoy about the genre is the description of the era, allowing me to envision being part of it.

Have you ever visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.? Some of the rooms were actually disassembled from European homes (I remember one from France), transported to the US and then made part of homes built by wealthy Americans in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The picture of the ceiling above reminded me of this.

Thanks for a very interesting article, and a wonderful series!

6:36 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Old houses and furnished rooms in museums have been a favorite of mine going to back about the age of six, Betty. I haven't been to the Biltmore Estate, but I've been to several along the Hudson River and in England. I love the feel of stepping into the past.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

How fun that you got to see the rooms at the Met - I would love to exp;ore it someday. I can see how your imagination would be triggered by all those antiques and their settings - I can just see Malcolm and Suzanne standing in those rooms. Thanks for sharing!

8:18 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

It's a great source of inspiration! I actually based their breakfast parlor in Berkeley Square on one of the rooms in the American Wing.

11:18 PM  

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