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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 20 Jan 1995 10:50:23 EST
Message of Fri, 20 Jan 1995 09:12:03 EST from <[log in to unmask]>
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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On the Hartford house: SLC approved the design, but Livy was by far the more
architecturally active member of the couple.  She paced out the dimensions of
the house on the land, met with E. T. Potter, and sketched out several versions
 of the interior.  Even so, both Sam and Livy were away from Hartford during
much of the design phase and almost all the construction; Sam, particularly,
was absent in England for most of the year and a half the house took to build.
 The pattern of interest in design between Sam and Livy can be seen clearly in
their later efforts at decorating the interior. Twice Sam approved spending
money on decorating the interior, which had been left plain in 1874; he then
left almost all the decisions to Livy, both after they returned from Europe in
1878 and when they called in Associated Artists in 1881 -- the house currently
reflects the 1881 design.  It is possible that Sam and Livy allowed traditional
 domestic divisions -- women handled the interior and men the exterior of the
house -- but this seems unlikely.  Sam loved the house, and particularly loved
its prominence in the Hartford landscape and frequently praised Livy for its
exquisite beauty, but he never took any credit for the appearance of the place,
which I expect he would have if he had any to take.  The house bears no design
relationship to steamboats; I believe Marianne Curling, the curator of the
house, had traced the tale to a German tourist viewing the place after the
publication of _Life on the Mississippi_; she'd be happy to tell you if you ask
her.  The is an excellent master's thesis on the client-architect relationship
between the Clemenses and Potter at the Trinity College (Hartford) Watkinson
Library.  I wish I could remember the author and title, but it shouldn't be too
hard to find.  Hope this helps.
Andy Hoffman