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Property from the Brooklyn Museum | March 20, 2024

Wed, Mar 20, 2024 10:00AM EDT
Lot 53

McKim, Mead and White Designed, Adams House Architectural Elements, Marble Wood

Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$100 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $200
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Note: This lot of objects is currently located at the Brooklyn Museum facility in Newark, NJ.  To schedule an on-site preview of these items, please contact Brunk Auctions to make arrangements with the Brooklyn Museum. For additional photos, please contact If you require a complete inventory of the items in this lot, we recommend you make arrangements with the Brooklyn Museum to view and assess the items in person.

formerly located at 455 Madison Avenue, New York, New York
and part of the Villard Houses at 451-457 Madison Avenue, circa 1882-84, elements from the stair hall and entrance foyer, mahogany paneled stair hall; stairway; landing with overlook; second floor landing; oval balustrade wood beams; molding; wainscotting; trim parquetry wood floor; mahogany doors; marble fireplace mantel; marble panels from entrance foyer; plaster ceiling reliefs; hardware, approximate size 14 ft. wide x 31 ft. long

Provenance: Property from the Brooklyn Museum

Historical Note:

A New York City Gilded Age interior with luxurious Italian Renaissance revival-style mahogany architectural woodwork, plaster reliefs and richest marble fireplace mantel and entrance foyer paneling. The immersive interior originates from the no longer extant Edward Dean Adams house formerly located at 455 Madison Avenue in New York City.

The Adams house was part of the Villard Houses, a monumental Italian palazzo- style complex of six opulent residences designed and built between 1882-84 by the renowned firm of McKim, Mead and White for railroad magnate Henry Villard (1835-1900) (fig. 1). This exquisitely-carved woodwork and associated elements have never been installed. The condition is as found when the Museum received them as a gift when the Villard Houses were repurposed and joined with the newly constructed Palace Hotel.

Edward Dean Adams (1846-1931) purchased 455 Madison Avenue in 1883, when Villard went bankrupt and sold the entire residential complex. Descended from the prominent family of President John Adams, Edward Dean Adams worked as lawyer, financier and engineer in turn. 455 Madison Avenue remained in the family until 1922.

Edward Dean Adams House and Interiors
Approached via a marble-lined vestibule, one entered the Adams residence into a gleaming mahogany-paneled stair hall with a contrasting parquetry wood floor designed by Francis Bacon for A.H. Davenport in collaboration with McKim, Mead and White, the leading architectural firm in the United States during the late 19th century. Plain paneled lower walls supported a blind arcade enriched with artist James Fosdik’s pyrographic or fire-etched designs of fluted demilunes and scrolling foliage on the upper walls. A rich, mottled marble mantel centered the wall to the right of the entrance. A staircase with turned baluster spindles, landings and an overlook was visible on-axis from the entrance. The ceiling featured a central oval oculus with balustrade enframed by panels enclosing foliate ornament and roundels. During the 1940s, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York steadily acquired many of the Villard residences for use as office space and housing for clergy members, and by 1949 had purchased the Adams house. In 1974, Harry B. Helmsley negotiated with the Archdiocese to redevelop the Villard Houses as part of the newly constructed Palace Hotel. To preserve a historic interior, Helmsley gave the stair hall from 455 Madison Avenue to the Brooklyn Museum in 1980.

Reference: Brooklyn Museum Object File, Edward Dean Adams House and Villard Houses


in varying states of preservation, please see photographs

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Purchased items will be available for pick up or shipping from our Asheville, North Carolina auction facility within ten business days of the auction will be assessed a storage fee of $5.00 per day, per item. Purchaser agrees that packing and shipping is done at the purchaser's risk and that the purchaser will pay in advance all packing expenses, materials, carrier fees and insurance charges. At our discretion, items will either be packed by an agent such as a packaging store or Brunk Auctions. Please allow two weeks for shipping after payment is received. Shipment of large items is the responsibility of the purchaser. We are happy to provide names of carriers and shippers if a purchaser so requests. Brunk Auctions will have no liability for any loss or damage to shipped items.

Property from the Brooklyn Museum