Gamble House Excursion

December 20th, 2014

     The Gamble House in Pasadena, California was the destination of a recent motor coach excursion I took with members of the Palm Springs Frontrunners & Walkers club. The Gamble House, also known as David B. Gamble House, was designated a National Historic Landmark (in 1978), a California Historical Landmark, and museum in Pasadena, California, USA. It was donated to the City of Pasadena by the Gamble family and currently operated for the City by the University of Southern California.

     The house is known worldwide for of its wood and joinery as an example of American style arts and crafts architecture. It’s also “a glass-lovers paradise containing exquisite glass windows, light fixtures, wall sconces, cabinets, and doors”. The house and furnishings were designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene after being commissioned in 1908 by David and Mary Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble Company. “It was built using multiple kinds of wood; the teak, maple,oak, Port Orford cedar, and mahogany surfaces are placed in sequences to bring out contrasts of color, tone and grain. Inlay in the custom furniture designed by the architects matches inlay in the tile mantle surrounds, and the interlocking joinery on the main staircase was left exposed”.

     Entrance to the house requires paid admission for docent-led tours. There are five types of tours and events available including the following titles: One-Hour Guided Tour, Behind The Velvet Ropes, Details & Joinery, Fire & Light, Arroyo Terrace, and Brown Bag Tuesdays.

The Gamble HouseThe Gamble House and Living Room Furniture

      Sources for this report, including quotations and the photos, are from the the Gamble House website and Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

     The day in Pasadena was structured to allow additional time to individually explore, shop or visit other attractions. My time was spent in the Pacific Asia Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The museums are located within a block of each and both are administered by USC. Paid admission to one permits reduced admission price to the other.

     The Pacific Asia Museum includes a permanent collection of art from Korea, China, and the South Pacific Islands. It also features changing exhibits and the ones on display during my visit included Insight: The Path of Bodhidharma; The Rent Collection Courtyard: Fifty Years; and The First Wave: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Paintings in the USC Pacific Asia Museum Collection. I particularly enjoyed the Silk Road exhibit and Museum’s collection of Asian and Pacific Islander artworks that reportedly span 5,000 years.

     The Pasadena Museum of California Art does not house a permanent collection and instead features changing exhibits. The exhibits on display during my visit included artwork titled An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle; Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin; and Stas Orlovski: Chimera. I found Jess and Robert Duncan’s “An Opening of the Field” interesting. They were part of the mid-1950s artists residents in San Francisco.

     I enjoyed the eleven hour excursion and appreciated the opportunity to view and learn more about a few of the visual attractions available here in Southern California.

     The Palm Springs Frontrunners & Walkers club motor coach tours are always rewarding activities. It’s a treasured benefit I’ve used many times during my twelve years of club membership. I’m very appreciative of the volunteer club members who plan, coordinate and lead these trips.

Bond Shands
December 11, 2014
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