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Renovation Notice

The gardens will be closed from July 10, 2017, until March 15, 2018. A reduced season pass is available.

Swimming Pool and Loggia

The swimming pool and beautifully decorated loggia attest to Dumbarton Oaks’ history as a private residence.
Swimming Pool and Loggia

In the early 1920s the Blisses hired architect Frederick Brooke to design a swimming pool and bathhouse on the Blounts’ stable yard and manure pit north of the former barn. In the mid-1920s, architects McKim, Mead & White, working with Farrand, redesigned the bath house into the loggia and arcade that exist today. Artist Allyn Cox, who also painted murals in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, developed a series of canvas frescoes for the ceiling and walls of the loggia, depicting the fable of Diana and Actaeon. When the paintings declined in the 1940s, they were reproduced in three mosaic panels of Portuguese tile.

At the western end of the pool, framed by weeping cherries, is a cast-stone wall with rocaille ornamentation surrounding a fountain and red marble basin from a design drawn by Beatrix Farrand. To the south of the pool, leading to the Green Terrace above, is a curved stairway whose steepness is broken by a series of small landings and the Horseshoe Fountain.

Chiseled on the wall to the left of the steps leading to the orchard from the pool is a verse from the poem “Reprieve,” written by Joseph Auslander: Like the flash of a wing / I came upon / The loveliest thing / Since Avalon / White blossoming / Azaleas wan / As a wounded king / A dying swan. A friend of the Blisses, this American poet and novelist was the first consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a position that evolved into poet laureate.

Swimming Pool and Loggia, Inscription

Swimming Pool and Loggia, Finial Pepper pot vase, limestone, Beatrix Farrand and Armand Albert Rateau; vase carved by Frederick Coles (presumed), ca. 1927–28; base ca. 1930.

Swimming Pool and Loggia, Bench Loggia seats (pair), marble, Beatrix Farrand, ca. 1932.

 
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The swimming pool and beautifully decorated loggia attest to Dumbarton Oaks’ history as a private residence.

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