From France to Tarrytown

Lyndhurst heiress Anna Gould’s connection to France will be in the spotlight at the Tarrytown mansion this month when some of her possessions secured in a Parisian auction this winter go on display. Plus, an update on a $1 million grant being used to restore the lower landscape and new specialty tours.

The French accent will be even stronger when this year’s incarnation of the costume exhibition opens June 15 at Lyndhurst.

Jay Gould may have been the famed railroad baron and financier in residence at the Tarrytown mansion near the end of the 19th century, but “Defying Labels: New Roles, New Clothes” will again spotlight the women in his life.

Exploring how their travels and their Paris-sourced fashions and accessories reflect the dramatic shift in women’s roles from the 1880s to the 1940s, the latest edition of “Defying Labels” — we featured the inaugural edition in our June 2016 issue — will again focus on Gould’s daughters, Anna Gould, Duchess of Talleyrand, and philanthropist Helen Gould, as well as daughter-in-law Edith Kingdon Gould, a former actress. 

Set to run until Sept. 24 in Lyndhurst’s carriage-house gallery, the exhibition’s international outlook is further fueled by a trio of items secured in a French auction conducted in March by Christie’s, the international auction house.

Featuring personal accessories, home furnishings and decorative goods that belonged to the Lyndhurst heiress Anna Gould and her first husband, the auction offered a captivating glimpse into their lavish Parisian life.

Successful bidding by executive director Howard Zar in the “Boniface de Castellane et Anna Gould — A Way of Life” auction increased Lyndhurst’s Gould family holdings.

“The items have indeed arrived and they will be displayed in the second iteration of the ‘Defying Labels’ exhibition,” Zar tells us.

These delicate treasures include a French Art Deco evening bag from the 1920s with a diamond-and-ruby clasp; a gold Tiffany & Co. pocket watch made in 1895, Anna Gould’s wedding gift to her first husband; and a pair of gold cufflinks with pictures of Gould’s children with her second husband, the Duke of Talleyrand. 

In other Lyndhurst news:

• Zar shares that the property received a $1 million grant to restore its lower landscape, the area between the mansion and the Hudson River. The renovation of the historic land, which is documented as far back as 1840, is underway. Already, work has been completed related to fire hydrants and water service with landscape work, including the replanting of trees, to follow. 

“A big part of that is planting a cherry orchard,” Zar says, plus completing a large kitchen and flower garden and offering related horticultural programming. The grant was secured through the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation through the Environmental Protection Fund.

• Specialty tours highlight a variety of newly restored areas. In the mansion, a Backstairs Tour takes participants up to the fifth-floor Tower, which offers panoramic views of the region, and continues down the back stairs through the Butler’s bedroom, pantry and down into the newly restored kitchen proceeding to the newly restored laundry and servants’ bedroom. Tours also touch on renovation work throughout the mansion. In addition, the bowling alley and pleasure pavilion will be open to the public after a restoration spanning some 30 years. The 7,000-square-foot shingled cottage features a wide veranda and two parlors, as well as the fully operational two-lane bowling alley, said to be the oldest regulation bowling alley in the country.


“My father loved it, as did my sister, and as I do. We loved its broad acres, its stately trees, its unsurpassed view, and particularly the atmosphere of peace, of quiet, and of contentment which prevails… The days of my childhood spent there, I count among the happiest of my long life… And as our family enjoyed this wonderful estate for so long it is now my desire, and my wish, that the residents of Tarrytown enjoy it, and its boundless possibilities… as a memorial to my father, Jay Gould.”

– Anna Gould (1875-1961), speaking at age 82, on her desire for Lyndhurst to become a museum.

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