This post is a follow-on from last week’s Friday ‘Picture Postals’ from Lovecraft: Rhode Island School of Design.
Rhode Island School of Design’s Pendleton Museum was an annexe to its main galleries and a favourite Providence spot for Lovecraft. It was a ‘must-see’ stop on the tour of the town given to his visitors, partly because entrance appears to have been free. The interior appealed greatly to Lovecraft because it was a faithful recreation of a Colonial era house. It was said to have been based on the Edward Dexter house in arrangement.
Pendleton House” [opened 1906] … “sedulously maintained in order to give the visitor a faithful picture of Georgian interiors as they really were.” — Letter from Lovecraft to Kleiner, 1919.
Attached to the [Waterman St.] museum proper is a perfect reproduction of a colonial mansion, containing the finest collection of American colonial furniture in the world.” — Letter from Lovecraft to Galpin, 9th August 1936.
When Lovecraft talks about a perfect Colonial interior, this is the sort of exemplar he has in mind at the level of the upper-classes. Albeit in richly plain colours, creams and warm polished woods, brass and flashes of gold gilding, rather than the dour black and white seen here.
Pendleton Museum or Pendleton House had its public ‘entrance through Waterman St.’, rather than its own frontage. Visitors would have had to walk through the Rhode Island School of Design galleries in order to reach it.
It was set to be matched with a long-anticipated Colonial style courtyard garden, but this was delayed again and again until finally the plans for it were drawn up in 1933, and the Garden was eventually realised until 1934. One assumes that Lovecraft was likely to have attended the opening event for the Garden, but I don’t know of any record of that.