Italianate Gardens

Conservation

A primary focus of the Drumthwacket Foundation is the preservation of the nationally landmarked historic site which includes Drumthwacket, built in 1835, Thomas Olden House, built in 1795, and the gardens.

The Foundation partners with the Department of Environmental Protection to identify need and the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure preservation standards. The Foundation is solely responsible for the conservation and restoration of the 18th and 19th century furniture, fine art and antiques on view in the residence. All projects are funded by corporate and private foundations in addition to public support.

Recent Projects

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Shutters

In 2011, Drumthwacket’s front façade shutters were restored by the Foundation. In 2022, the remaining 72 rear facade shutters were restored.

Stained Glass Dome

Post-restoration

Pre-restoration 

In 2019, Clagnan Stained Glass Studio in Wall Township, NJ removed the stained-glass dome above the second-floor private residence. The panels were flattened, the glass disassembled and cleaned, and the lead came recycled prior to reinstallation.

Portraits of Hart and Temperance Olden

The portraits, painted c.1810, were in good condition when donated to the Foundation in 2021 and only required light cleaning. Hart and Temperance Olden were the parents of Charles Smith Olden and undoubtedly visited their son at Drumthwacket, the home which he built in 1835.

Dining Room Wall Panel

The 29 multi-colored floral Chinoiserie wall panels were commissioned by the Foundation in the 1980s and beautifully restored in 2019.

The Library at Drumthwacket

Drumthwacket’s west wing, added in 1905, houses the magnificent library.   The intricately carved stone fireplace and the ceiling’s hand-painted canvas panels, accented with gold leaf, were cleaned by hand in 2018 and 2019 respectively to remove accumulated soot and grime.  In 2022, the library’s signature lead windows underwent restoration to address buckling and breakage.  

Garden Bench & Lawn Chairs

When a section of a marble bench original to Drumthwacket was discovered on the property in 2021, the Seward Johnson Atelier in Hamilton, NJ was hired by the Foundation to rejoin the missing section and restore the bench.  It is believed the original bench would have had a back support, now missing.

In 2022, the Atelier took charge of two fired and glazed earthenware lawn chairs, also original to the Pyne era gardens, to clean and repair each and rebuild the missing corners.  Thankfully, one corner still existed from which the Atelier was able to model the other elements.