A Beautiful Inspiration
Written By Holly Clark
For the Home
The Whitney Collection
Blooming with fresh, stylized flowers and warm colors, the lovely Whitney Quilt Collection adds a charming feminine note to any bedroom. The playful floral designs are inspired by the beds in the Watson Room in Biltmore House—a guest bedroom that was often occupied by one of George Vanderbilt’s nieces, like the elegant Miss Gertrude Vanderbilt (Whitney) for whom this collection is named.
George Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House to his family and friends for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1895. It was a merry house party by all accounts, and included his mother and many of his nieces and nephews—some of whom were close to George Vanderbilt in age.
Gertrude Vanderbilt was one of George Vanderbilt’s nieces, and she was 18 years old when she made that first Christmas visit to Biltmore in 1895. As a very fashionable young lady from New York, she was not too keen on spending the holidays at her uncle’s new home in North Carolina, far away from her friends and all the parties of the season.
Happily for Gertrude, the trip to Biltmore turned out to be much more interesting than she anticipated when George Vanderbilt’s close friend William Osgood Field arrived several days after Christmas. The dashing young bachelor captured Gertrude’s attention and kept her and the other young ladies entertained for several days.
An Inspiring Woman
Although another of George’s nieces eventually married the charming Willy Field, Gertrude married Harry Payne Whitney, a noted sportsman from a distinguished family, less than a year after her visit to Biltmore. During a trip to Europe in 1901, Gertrude rediscovered her passion for art, embarked on serious study, and became a sculptress as well as a patron of women in the arts. In 1930, the Whitney’s founded the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, which remains one of the country’s finest institutions focused on new and contemporary artists.
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