You Are Here
Doors leading into library:
The doors leading to the library were crafted to match the entryway staircase spindles. Originally, they were not solid wood but had glass inserts inside the doors which showcased the intricate details of the doors. Wooden inserts were added after Mrs. Butterworth’s death. The linen-fold carvings on the lower sections of the doors are a common Gothic feature.
Many consider the Library to be the most spectacular room in Butterworth Center. It was enlarged into an octagonal shape in 1917 to accommodate the addition of a 25’ x 50’ ceiling painting. Many of the furnishings reflect the Renaissance influence.
Library doors today
How did the Butterworths use their new library?
The Library was a place to entertain and was originally packed with furnishings. After Mrs. Butterworth died, however, most of the furnishings were sold. At one time, the Library was decorated with 16th century handwoven velvet on the walls, an oriental rug, and a variety of paintings. Three groupings of furniture completed the room —one at each end and one facing the fireplace.
The carved wooden bookshelves around the perimeter of the room are original, along with many of the books.
1950 The doors between the library and the entrance area
The Library as is appeared in the 1950s
The Library as it appears today
The 25’ x 50’ painting on canvas was purchased in Italy by P. W. French & Company and sold to Charles Deere Wiman (nephew of Mrs. Butterworth) for $67,000. It arrived in several sections and was applied to the Butterworth Library ceiling piece by piece. The painting, which depicts peace in Venice after the Venetian and Turkish Wars,
was originally commissioned in the 1710 or 1720s by the Bernardo family, who lived in a Venetian palazzo. In the 1950s, after Mrs. Butterworth’s death, art dealers approached Charles Deere Wiman to purchase the painting, but he refused, believing that it should remain in the Butterworth home.
Katherine and William portraits
Katherine Deere Butterworth’s portrait:
Artist John Doctoroff (1893-1970) portraitist of the powerful and wealthy, painted the portrait of Mrs. Butterworth. Her pink dress, still in the collection at Butterworth Center, is adorned with antique Honiton lace inserts under the arms and across the bodice. Honiton lace-making dates to 16th century England.
William Butterworth’s portrait:
After Mr. Butterworth’s death in 1936, Mrs. Butterworth commissioned British artist Harrington Mann to paint her husband’s portrait. Mann spent much of his time in his New York studio where he specialized in portraits of children and British dignitaries.
Statues and Stonework
Statue, Sans Souci:
Mr. Butterworth bought Sans Souci while on a trip to Germany. The story goes that while in an antique shop, he was told that the statue’s name means “without a care,” to which he replied, “That’s me, without a care.”
The mantel, door, and window stone carvings reflect the Italian Renaissance. The mantel was copied identically from a French chateau mantel, that is now located at Leeds Castle in Kent, England, and is believed to be Rouen stone, the same material used in the Leeds Castle mantel. The carvings reflect learned men such as astronomers, philosophers, and mathematicians from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Josiah Little portrait:
Artist John Wesley Jarvis, a portraitist, miniaturist, sculptor and engraver, painted the portrait of Josiah Little, Mrs. Butterworth’s great-great-grandfather. Little was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1747 and fought in the Revolutionary War. (Look for his wife’s portrait in the Orchid Room).
Couch / tapestry
Photos from the 1950s show that the antique sofa, provided by P. W. French & Company, is original to the Library and once had a tapestry on its back. While the tapestry is no longer on display, the William Butterworth Foundation still owns it.
The President’s Bowl once resided in the Butterworths’ Washington, D.C. apartment. Mr. Butterworth received the bowl when he served as President of the United States Chamber of Commerce from 1928 – 1931.