11/8/16 NEMA 2016 - Belfry Historic Consultants: Find "Your Key to the Past”!

Belfry is pleased to participate in this year’s annual New England Museum Association Conference.   The conference will run from November 9th through the 11th in Mystic, CT and will showcase some of the most important historic archivists, conservationists, and restoration specialists in the U.S. 

 If you plan to attend, make sure to stop by and visit Belfry Historic Consultants, where we will be exhibiting rare and beautiful reproductions of hand crafted fabrics and wallcoverings.  Many of the fine products we offer will be on display, including: hand blocked and embossed papers,  passementerie, painted gaufrage mohair, horsehair fabric, leather panels, and many other historically accurate recreations which bring the richness of history to life before your eyes.  Hope to see you there!

10/28/16 Belfry Starts and Ends Their Summer Season With Two Great GHHN Events.

Belfry Historic Consultants are great fans of The Greater Hudson Heritage Network, one of the predominant historic conservation resources in New York State.  Therefore, we were thrilled to be a part of two of their events this year.  At the end of June, Belfry was proud to host the GHHN ‘Behind the Scenes Networking Event’ at our Beacon, N.Y. showroom.   We got a chance to talk about some of the exciting past and present restoration projects that we have been involved with, and to share some of our approach and methodology in recreating historic wallcoverings, fabrics, and trims.  It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the philosophy that drives our commitment to Historic accuracy with some of the top professionals in the greater Hudson area and beyond. 

To wrap up the Summer and welcome in the Fall season, Belfry was pleased to take part in another fine GHHN event: the 2016 Annual Conference at Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie, New York.  While the conference hosted several  talks and workshops on sensory immersion as an approach to accessing History, Belfry invited conference attendees to engage in the visual and tactile discovery of perfect period reproductions including:  printed gaufrage mohair, silk damasks, vibrantly colored horsehair fabric, embossed block printed wallpapers, and hand-crafted passementerie. We had an absolutely fantastic time.  What a great way to start and end our Summer season!!

7/25/16 Historic Paparazzi – Following The Life and Times of Alva Belmont

It’s not unusual for Belfry Historic to work on more than one project at a Historic location.  However, it is not every day that we follow the personal life of an historic figure as she moved from place to place.

In the 1980’s Belfry Historic (then Classic Revivals) recreated the lampas for the bedroom of Alva Belmont (then Alva Vanderbilt), at the “Marble House” Vanderbilt mansion in Newport.  We were able to research and find the mill that had woven it in 1888, who still maintained records and color samples from the original weaving.  With great attention to period accuracy, Alva’s bedroom lampas was restored back to its original, regal, lavender-ground splendor.

A restored section of Alva’s ‘Marble House’ bedroom Lampas.

Alva slept in this bedroom at Marble House, which she used as a summer vacation retreat with her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt, until they divorced in March  of 1895.  A year later, in 1896, Alva remarried Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, and  shortly afterwards,  began renovation on Belmont's Newport mansion, Belcourt. 

Belfry Historic Consultants received a call from Belcourt in the beginning of this year and was tasked with reproducing the sun-worn monogramed damask wall coverings which lined the hallways of this great estate.   Through painstaking analysis of the original document fibers, Belfry worked with Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company to recreate the damask with precise color matching and exacting detail.  Adding to that, perfectly reproduced cords and trims which were hand-manufactured by Sevinch Passementerie, the hallway damask was brought back to its original splendor.

We’re not stalking Alva Belmont, we promise!   However, we are very excited to have followed the life and vision of this influential figure as she left her mark on two of the most beautiful homes in Newport, Rhode Island. 

The restored Belcourt damask, juxtaposed with a section of the original sun-worn document.

Watch the video of Catherine Buscemi talking about the restoration process here: