Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grey Towers - Milford PA

James Pinchot bought several thousand acres of land in York County Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. He then proceeded to denude the entire property of all its trees. He later regretted that decision and suggested his son, Gifford, become a forester. Gifford pursued that ambition with a vengeance and over time the property was restored. Pinchot bought ideas from Europe back to America to help restore some of Americas stripped forests.
Grey Towers is styled after a French Chateau. Much of its charm came from the influence of Gifford's wife Cornelia who he married in 1914. When she first came to the property she found the place rather dreary with the house sitting on top of a barren landscape. She added gardens and a really unique feature called a water table. This large table is located outside and is under a beautiful wisteria which it trellised with an intricate wooden dome. One bright spot of light is left open at the top of the dome much like the Parthenon. The table is built up of stone and cement and it is essentially a large bathtub the height of a table. Chairs are placed around the table and the pool of water is used to float wooden bowls full of fruit and vegetables. When someone wants something a guest simply and delicately pushes the bowl across the watery divide.
This was the last day of my aimless wanderings around the north east. With only an hour to go I had a choice to sketch the Chateau or wander down into town to see a "Wood Festival". Since I only had an hour I chose to sketch the Chateau. Later Terry informed me that I might have enjoyed sketching "The Chainsaw Chicks." I was devastated, but I am still happy I took the time to document this bucolic setting.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: