The Tobin Clark Estate was completed in 1931, designed by the re-nown architect, David Adler. Upon completion, the Estate was filled with interior decor by Syrie Maugham (wife of Somerset Maugham), paintings by Van Dyke and Sir Joshua Reynolds, Queen Anne paneling, eighteenth century Chinese wall coverings, a rare Dubois writing table and over two hundred other items sent from England and the Continent were selected by Syrie Maugham. Celia Tobin Clark learned about Syrie’s legendary interior decorating from a dear friend in Chicago. Syrie is credited for designing the first all-white room. At the Estate, The Music Room, is a perfect example of her work using ‘white’ as the primary color.
At the Estate, Syrie’s crowning glory were the Music Room and the Library. The Music Room, which is 55 feet long and is crowned by 15 foot ceilings with exquisite three dimensional decorations, features antique parquet-de-Versailles floorings, triple gold-gilt moldings, matching fireplaces, Bay Windows and French doors leading to the Grand Terrace was an example of her extraordinary work. You will notice that it has all shades of white.
The Library is where she brought in dramatic colors of green. As you walk into The Library you discover pine carving attributed to Grinling Gibbons, woodcarver to St. Paul’s Cathedral under Sir Christopher Wren, and matching eighteenth-century pine bookcases. This room is featured in Helen Comstock’s “100 Most Beautiful Rooms in America.” And, as you peruse the book you will find several of the rooms listed were designed by Syrie Maugham.
Born in London in 1879, Syrie opened a shop on Baker Street in 1922. As her reputation exploded, she took on interior decorating projects in Palm Beach and California. The expansion of her design business caused her to open shops in Chicago and New York. The prices for her pieces were high. Victor Afia is credited for say, “She knew what she could get away with. It wasn’t the stuff so much as her talent she was charging for.” And, Celia Tobin Clark spent a fortunate over the next several years with Syrie as her guide. In the 1930’s Syrie would say to Celia, “If you don’t have $10,000 to spend today don’t bother.”
Furniture was Syrie’s specialty. As you wonder through the Tobin Clark Estate, your breath will be taken away with the French provincial antiques and accessories from all over the Continent, plus her own designs. Each of them receiving the ‘Syrie treatment’. They were pickled or stripped, painted, or finished with a secret craquelure technique. “Cut it down and paint it white,” she would order her craftsmen.
The extraordinary rooms she designed and decorated influenced almost every interior designer, the most notable being – de Wolfe, Jean-Michel Frank and Frances Elkins. However, after Syrie closed her shop in New York in 1932, it was Rose Cumming who offered the finest tribute from them all. It was suggested that Rose take on filling the white furniture gap left behind by Syrie’s exit. Rose said, “No, white was always Syrie’s.
Syrie Maugham’s interior design has lived on for more than sixty years at the Tobin Clark Estate. The Hillsborough Mansion with the unassuming name “House-on-Hill”, is still regarded as one of the most spectacular private residences ever created, and one that is certainly without peer in its fine antique English Cotswold style. Once in a lifetime one is able to acquire a true architectural masterpiece. That opportunity has now arrived.
For a private viewing of this 35,000 square foot mansion nestled on 6-acres, and host to Presidents and World Leaders, CONTACT US TODAY. Only fully qualified buyers need to inquire. The Estate is offered for sale at $29,000,000. Until next time…Jim Walberg.