The duPont family is one of the richest and most influential families in American history, and several members spent a large portion of their lives in the Delaware area. There are a few historical sites related to this family here, which can make for excellent educational trips for the whole family. Our Delaware adoption agents are big fans of the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. Some of our favorite features here include:
In 1907, Alfred duPont married his second wife, Alicia. He showered her with lavish gifts throughout their relationship, and this culminated with the breathtaking mansion he had built for her on a 3,000-acre plot of land in Wilmington. DuPont hired a highly respected New York architectural firm called Carrere and Hastings to design the home in the late-18th-century French style known as Louis XVI-Rococo – a favorite of Alicia’s.
The estate is named after the French town of Nemours, which duPont’s great-great-grandfather represented as part of the French Estates General. When it was built, this magnificent home struck the perfect balance between modern technology and classic style.
This massive library holds nearly 2,000 books, including works by iconic French authors like Voltaire, Balzac, and Victor Hugo. The impeccable decor features Jacobean oak paneling and an overmantel which is a replica of a 17th-century English piece. Artwork includes paintings by Lucas Cranach the Younger, Pieter Breugel the Younger, and George Romney. There is also a triptych above the door, which is a 16th-century Flemish depiction of the Adoration of the Magi.
The Drawing Room
Drawing rooms are a tradition from 18th and 19th century England. In these days, women would leave the dining room following dinner, leave the men to smoke cigars, and retire into the drawing room. At the Nemours Mansion, this room is the most formal room and the duPonts would follow the English custom during special occasions.
This room is full of portraits, such as:
- Jessie duPont by Russian artist Pierre Troubetzkov
- The Duchess of Gloucester by Sir Joshua Reynolds
- “Kitty” Courtenay by George Romney
- A painting of Alfred’s great-great-grandmother Marie LeDee duPont
The Reception Hall
This is one of the largest open spaces in the mansion and one of the most immaculately decorated. The duPonts celebrated Christmases here. Notable decor includes a painting of George Washington by James Peale and walls made of Brandywine granite which has been covered with a fine layer of plaster that was scored and painted in the style of a dressed stone. These stunning walls have color variation from glazes applied individually to each block, with no two blocks being exactly the same.
Outside of the home, you’ll find the majestic Jardin a la Francaise, or French formal gardens. However, these are no normal gardens – it’s the largest landscape park and collection of individual gardens in this style in North America.
Some notable features of these gardens include:
- Boxwood Garden
- The Colonnade
- Maze Garden
- The Reflecting Pool
- Sunken Gardens
- Temple of Love