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Colored Pencil Drawing & Painting Workshops At Bonnet House

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Spring is in full swing here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens! We have been thoroughly enjoying the warmer weather and taking inspiration from the blossoming plants & flowers throughout our vast gardens. Although South Florida is fairly warm throughout most of the year, we always look forward to the longer days and the beauty that each new season brings.

In order to make the most of springtime, we are excited to host a colored pencil and painting workshop this coming May. This 3-week workshop will help you capture the beauty of the season, and anything else that may interest or inspire you. Guests will have the opportunity to learn colored pencil techniques that will help you create great-looking artwork without years of experience.

We are also incredibly eager for you to join us in welcoming our new drawing instructor, Galal Ramadan, to Bonnet House. Galal has written many articles published in Colored Pencil Art Magazines and has been in solo national and international exhibitions. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and now resides and teaches in Florida. He is extremely passionate about his art, teaching others, and drawing inspiration from the world around him.

This 3-week workshop will take place on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm from May 7th – 21st, 2022 in our air-conditioned Island Theater. This course is $140 for members and $160 for nonmembers. To view the list of materials you will need, click here . We sincerely hope that you will consider registering for this fun, interactive, and educational workshop this May. Using colored pencils and paints to capture the beauty around you is a skill you will always treasure. To learn more about this workshop and register, click here.

The Many Homes Of Frederic Bartlett

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It goes without saying that Frederic Clay Bartlett was an exceedingly fascinating individual. From his artistic and architectural endeavors to his time spent abroad, to his various marriages, Frederic Bartlett led a full and interesting life from start to finish. Here at Bonnet House, we obviously know him best as the owner of our unique property and vast gardens, but Bonnet House was actually just one of many different properties that Frederic Bartlett called home at some point in his life.

To learn more about the life of Frederic Bartlett, and the other individuals that made Bonnet House what it is today, we began hosting a highly anticipated and informative speaker series. This series is meant to highlight some of the more interesting and unknown facts about the Bartlett family, the property, South Florida, and much more.

Our first lecture in this series discusses the gentleman who started it all: Frederic Clay Bartlett. Frederic Bartlett and his wife, Helen, began construction on the Bonnet House property in 1920. But unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1925 when Helen died from breast cancer. After that, Frederic’s visits to Bonnet House became sporadic until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. With this marriage, a renaissance occurred on the site as Frederic and Evelyn entered a prolific period of embellishing Bonnet House with the decorative elements that delight visitors to this day.

But despite all that took place on the Bonnet House property before, during, and after his marriage to Evelyn, Frederic did not live exclusively at Bonnet House. In fact, over the span of his 80-year life, he actually lived in more than 15 different homes! Each of these homes reflects on his various passions, artistic endeavors, and even his character.

Because this particular topic has sparked the interest of so many in the architectural and artistic community, we have uploaded a recording so that you can listen and learn more about the life and various homes of Frederic Clay Bartlett at your leisure! From Bonnet House in Florida, to Dorfred House in Illinois, you’ll learn about the unique aspects of each of Bartlett’s most beloved homes and communities. You can watch the full recording, by clicking here.

Antique Chinese Betrothal Baskets

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Often referred to as wedding basket by foreigners’ betrothal baskets is more accurate as they are traditionally used during the betrothal or engagement.  The family of the groom fills the basket with dowry gifts for the bride’s family. The gifts traditionally come in even numbers. Food, sewing materials, a nightgown, and red sheets for the wedding night are sometimes included. Red is the symbol of prosperity, joy, and love. It is the main color used in Chinese weddings.

The baskets are commonly hand-made from thin strips of split bamboo. The strips are dyed red.   Ours, which is located in the studio to the right of the fireplace features exquisite weaving, with a double layer and an intricate design on top of the lid. Sometimes the weaver would sign their name on the wide bottom strips.  The one at Bonnet House is unsigned.  It dates from the early 1900s.

According to Things Chinese: Antiques, Crafts, Collectables by Ronald G. Knapp they “… usually come in pairs so that they can be carried on the ends of a balanced shoulder pole. In some areas of China today, rather than purchasing a set, one has the option of renting one from a wedding cake shop.”

There is a strong possibility Mr. Bartlett purchased this basket on his wedding trip to China with his second wife, Helen Birch Bartlett. They were married in 1919.

The eagle in the Drawing room was also made in China. It was purchased by Evelyn Fortune Bartlett from Phyllis Cramer who owned the Kampong gallery in Palm Beach. Mrs. Cramer told Mrs. Bartlett that the eagle is a Chinese house decoration. The small animals on the gray tables around the courtyard were also purchased from the Kampong gallery. The store was located at 10 Via Parigi, an arcade opposite the Everglades Club. It was advertised as “a shop like a museum.”