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Proposed inscription for one of a pair of benches in the Forsythia Dell

Accession number GD B-2-17
Alternative title Inscription for Forsythia bench
Garden Area
Forsythia Dell
Fairview Hill
76.2 x 193.0 cm (30.0 x 76.0 inches)
graphite and blue colored pencil shading on tracing paper
Work types
architectural drawings


Drawing unsigned, probably draught by Ruth Havey on behalf of Beatrix Farrand based on notation: "Progress drawing, not for construction, inscription to be checked, R.M.H."

Proposed inscription dedicated to Caroline Phillips for one of two benches in the Forsythia Dell to memorialize the friendship Robert and Mildred Bliss had with William and Caroline Phillips. A proposed inscription dedicated to William was probably for the second of the pair of benches for which no drawing exists in the Garden Archives Collection. The inscriptions on the pair of benches were never realized.

In a correspondence to Mildred Bliss, B:CP 1933.07.09, Caroline Phillips offered "three little extracts from Dante's Earthly Paradise at the end of the Purgatorio" for the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens. The Italian quote used for the inscription on the bench is: "Ma con piena letizia in l'ore prime, Cantado ricevieno intra le foglie, Che tenevan bordone alle sue rime" Purgatorio XXVIII-16. English translation: "But, singing, with full pleasure they welcome, The first breezes within the leaves, Which were murmuring the burden of their songs."

Tears noted on bottom edge.

Title created by cataloger.


lettering (layout features)
benches (furniture)
garden furniture
quotations (texts)
Phillips, Caroline (1897-1961)
Phillips, William, 1878-1968
Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321. Purgatorio
architectural drawings (visual works)
alphabets (symbols)


Dumbarton Oaks Garden Archives


Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Rare Book Collection
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington (D.C.)