Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Stetson Mansion for the Holidays

I arranged to sketch the Stetson Mansion (1031 Camphor Lane, DeLand, FL 32720) because they decorate the place for the Christmas Holiday Season. The Stetson Mansion built in 1886 is part of Florida's First Luxury Estate and the grandest home ever built in Florida before the 20th century. Built for famed hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson, this winter retreat is Florida’s only richly detailed mansion actually built in the “Gilded Age” which ended in 1899.

The eclectic and unusual “High Victorian” architectural design not only had the most advanced technology of its day, it also includes a variety of complicated interior carvings, 16 patterns of the nation's most rare and intricate parquet wood floors and 10,000 panes of original leaded glass windows. The understated decorations on the exterior are meant to just allow the architecture to shine. Inside is an entirely different story.

The 8th Annual Christmas Spectacular has the interior is ornately decorated for the holidays and has to be seen to be believed.  Holiday Home Tours continue through January 15th and need to be reserved online. I only had time for one sketch, so I didn't sketch inside. Being part of tour would mean I wouldn't have time to sketch in any one room anyway.

I started sketching as the last tour of the day went inside. I was told I had 90 minutes before the tour let out. I worked hard to catch the fading light. After the sun set I discovered that my iPad attracted mosquitoes. They swarmed around my hands as I sketched and tapped against the illuminate glass screen. When they started buzzing in my ears, I lost patience and had to run for the car to escape. A few got inside the car with me and I punched at the windshield to crush them. I am sure I got the last one out as I opened the car window as I was driving and he got sucked outside. That didn't stop me from itching on the entire drive back.

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

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