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  • Britney Heerten

The Architecture of the Biltmore House

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina stands the largest private estate in America. This estate is the Biltmore, commissioned by George Vanderbilt (1862-1914) and designed by architect, Richard Morris Hunt (1872-1895).


This 4 story, 250 room home was heavily influenced by famous 16th-century castles of the French Renaissance. If you take a look at the castles: Blois, Chenonceau, and Chambord of Loire Valley, you can identify several similarities. See the three small images below to see if you can spot the similarities. It is easy to spot the inspiration for the staircase when you look at Chateau de Blois.

The cantilevered staircase, inspired by the Chateau de Blois, is one of the marvels of the home. The 1,700-pound chandelier is also one of the most striking features. It has only one attachment point on the ceiling and contains 72 light bulbs.

Hunt and Vanderbilt Explored Europe in search of inspiration and historic collectibles to fill the home. Vanderbilt's collection of treasures remains in the Biltmore for guests to enjoy today. Among the treasures are historic tapestries, prints, paintings, and sculptures.


One of the most Grand works of Art is located in the Library. The Chariots of Aurora by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (1675-1741) was brought to the Biltmore and the 13 canvas panels were attached to the ceiling. The painting, circa 1720s, originally covered the ceiling of the Pisani Palace in Venice.

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) served as Landscape Architect for the grounds of the Biltmore Estate. Olmsted designed many well-known parks, such as Central Park in New York.







Resources:

https://www.romanticasheville.com/biltmorececil.htm

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/the-biltmore-estate-a-brief-architectural-tour/




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