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Stone Exedra seat

Accession number GD B-2-15
Alternative title Stone Exedra bench
Garden Area
Forsythia Dell
Fairview Hill
26.3 x 35.4 cm (10.4 x 13.9 inches)
3/4 inch = 1 inch
graphite on tracing paper
Work types
architectural drawings


Drawing unsigned, probably created by Beatrix Farrand based on a similar signed and dated drawing, GD B-3-63.

Written in lower right corner in red colored pencil: "Approved for Forsythia Seat."

Notations on drawing: "Length probably 9'6" instead of 10'" and "Lower whole 1 1/2", seat now too high."

Originally created for the Forsythia Dell to memorialize the friendship Robert and Mildred Bliss had with William and Caroline Phillips. The bench was moved about 1939 to a secluded area of Fairview Hill. Two small benches were created for the original space.

In a correspondence to Mildred Bliss, B:CP 1933.07.09, Caroline Phillips offered "three little extracts from Dante's Earthyly 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."

Some report that the bench has similarities to bench designs submitted to Mildred Bliss and Beatrix Farrand by Armand Albert Rateau.

Upper right and lower left corners torn from drawing.

Title created by cataloger.


benches (furniture)
garden furniture
stone (worked rock)
quotations (texts)
aprons (furniture components)
Phillips, William, 1878-1968
Phillips, Caroline (1897-1961)
Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321. Purgatorio
architectural drawings (visual works)


Dumbarton Oaks Garden Archives


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