After 25 years of traveling John and Mable Ringling began construction on the house of their dreams in 1924. During all their years of travel they had been carefully collecting some of the worlds greatest works of art and Ca' d'Zan (House of John) was just the venue to showcase their treasures.
As I had slowly toured both the exterior of the home and it’s gardens sadly, I only had time to see the first and second floors as I had a plane to catch. I plan on visiting the third floor and tower in the future.
The guided tour begins in the solarium which features the loveliest azure ceiling. A foliated motif painted by Robert Webb surrounds the glorious lantern.
From there you pass through the reception room and into the ballroom.
The gold coffered ceiling features couples from across the globe engaging in their native dance which was painted by Willy Pogany.
Then it’s time to pass through the red velvet door.
Oh boy was there a struggle to keep my hands to myself!
This is the interior court which was styled like the great halls found in the ancient homes of Venice, which was the inspiration style for Ca' d'Zan .
Squares of black and white marble are laid in checkerboard fashion. An English Mortlake tapestry hangs between John and Mable’s portraits at the far end.
There was a pianist playing the German Steinway which features a beautiful rosewood and ormolu case signed by Mellier. My mother in law, Jane, who has toured the home a great number of times opted to remain seated here and lend her sweet singing voice while I continued on with the tour.
The coffered ceiling features Florida pecky cypress painted in the Renaissance style and a skylight of Venetian glass. The crystal chandelier originally hung in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
Glorious Venetian glass can be found in many of the windows in various shades of amethyst, blue, rose , green and yellow. Truly a dazzling way to showcase the magnificent view of Sarasota Bay.
Then it was on to the valet room, pantry and kitchen. You can see the special German silver sink which had a softer forgiving finish in which to wash the fine antique china and crystal.
A plaster dining room ceiling, painted to look like wood, was done by Robert Webb and decorated with designs from unset cameos belonging to Mable.
The fireplace is a carved stone copy of an Italian Renaissance model. Over it is suspended a glazed terra cotta tondo of the Virgin Adoring the Child, in the man-
ner of Andrea della Robbia, a Florentine sculptor of the 15th century.
Right next to this room is the bar. It features leaded glass wall-panels and a bar that were once in the famous Cicardi Winter Palace Restaurant in St. Louis, which was a favorite haunt of Mr. Ringling's.
Around the corner is the elevator which is once again working. It has a carved stone door-frame in Florentine Renaissance style topped by a frescoed
lunette which depicts the Madonna and Child with two angels.
Up close detailing of stonework.
The first room to be viewed is John Ringling’s bedroom which is done in the French Empire style (also known as Regency Style in Britain and Federal Style in the U.S.). I loved the gilded door and window frames.
There are many notable tapestries that hang in the upper hall. They include on the west wall two 17th century Flemish tapestries depicting episodes in the life of Alexander the Great.
A third tapestry included in the Alexander series,”The Conqueror Beside a Pool”, is on the south balcony wall. To the right of this is hung one of a known set of six tapestries based on drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, which illustrate incidents from Achilles heroic career taken from Greek Mythology.
This is also a grand opportunity to look down on the glorious furnishings in the court.
The Aubusson rug is just massive.
It might be time to once again view the 1998 film “Great Expectations” starring Robert DeNiro, Anne Bancroft, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ethan Hawke in which Ca' d'Zan is the backdrop star.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of this truly grand home.
Tour the Ringling Garden HERE.
To see the beautiful exteriors and the history of Ca' d'Zan go HERE.
Between Naps On The Porch, Classy Clutter, Stonegable, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons, We Are That Family, Someday Crafts, The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, Posed Perfection, My Fabuless Life,The Style Sisters, Sew A Fine Seam, Craftberry Bush, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home,The Charm of Home, AKA Design + Life, Shabby Creek Cottage, Classy Clutter, Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, The Dedicated House