Fort Lauderdale and the Bonnet House


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Published: June 18th 2019
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Bonnet HouseBonnet HouseBonnet House

The main entrance to the house is through the courtyard. DSC_0661
Arriving in Fort Lauderdale the day before our Panama Canal cruise was to sail, we had decided to make a visit to the Bonnet House. The Bonnet House, listed on the National Register of historic Places, was the home of Frederic Clay and Helen Bartlett. It was designed by him in his interpretation of the Caribbean Plantation style and built in 1920-1921. When Bonnet House was built, the surrounding land consisted of nothing but dunes, scrub and marshes and was reachable only by boat. Today, it is considered an oasis in the middle of the Fort Lauderdale beachfront.

Frederic Clay Bartlett (1873-1953) was a successful American artist from Chicago. He worked in many media, including painting, faux stained glass, marbling, sculpture and decorative arts. The land was a wedding present to him and his second wife from her father. The main entrance is through the courtyard. Bartlett adorned his Florida house with all manner of whimsical and quirky artworks--carousel animals, marbleized furniture, and a curious painting of his depicting he and Helen as folk dancers (she with two left feet).The courtyard is the focal point of the house. Bartlett's studio and selected artworks are off one side of the courtyard
Cowfish SculptureCowfish SculptureCowfish Sculpture

Cowfish sculpture over the main entrance, by Frederic Clay Bartlett. DSC_0663p1
and the rooms of the house open onto it. It is typically styled as a Persian Garden, and does have four precincts with a central fountain. He seems to have been intrigued with things Persian and his studio is in the shape of an Iwan. On the main floor of the house are an intimate dining room with a table for only four persons (the Bartlett's and two guests), the kitchen, a verandah open to the lily pond, a sitting room and a room now used for a display of Helen Bartlett's own paintings. The upper level contains the Master Bedroom, three Guest Bedrooms and two smaller bedrooms. The upper floor is not included in the guided house tour. A verandah offers a view of the lagoon and lily pond.

To reach the house from the parking lot, visitors must cross over a mangrove swamp. On it are the wooden boathouses once occupied by the boats used to reach the mainland. The individual at the visitor center was very pleased that we had selected Bonnet House as our pre-cruise destination.


Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


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Evelyn and Frederic Clay BarlettEvelyn and Frederic Clay Barlett
Evelyn and Frederic Clay Barlett

Whimsical painting of Bartlett and his third wife Evelyn (Fortune) Bartlett as folk dancers. Bartlett fancied himself a good dancer and he depicts himself with fluid lines. Evelyn was not a good dancer and he depicts her with a foot instead of a left hand: "two left feet". On display in the Bartlett House courtyard. IMG_7590
Bonnet House CourtyardBonnet House Courtyard
Bonnet House Courtyard

Courtyard in the form of a Persian Garden, with the requisite fountain. DSC_0669
Bonnet House Courtyard and AviaryBonnet House Courtyard and Aviary
Bonnet House Courtyard and Aviary

Courtyard and aviary. The house was designed in Frederic Bartlett's interpretation of a Caribbean plantation house. plantation style while the courtyard displays Persian influences. DSC_0671
Art Studio in an IwanArt Studio in an Iwan
Art Studio in an Iwan

Frederic's art collection at the Bonnet House displays several Persian paintings. His admiration for things Persian may have influenced the Iwan-style tower in the courtyard. The doorway is the entrance to Bartlett’s studio. DSC_0672p1
Dining RoomDining Room
Dining Room

Intimate dining room with table and room for only four, the Bartlett's and two guests. IMG_7595
VerandahVerandah
Verandah

Verandah facing the Lily Pond. DSC_0656
Lilly PondLilly Pond
Lilly Pond

Lagoon and Lily pond. The Lilly Pond conceals Bonnet House from Florida Highway A1A. DSC_0659
Wooden Drawing Room DoorsWooden Drawing Room Doors
Wooden Drawing Room Doors

Wooden Drawing Room doors designed by Frederic Clay Bartlett. IMG_7597
Bonnet House Bonnet House
Bonnet House

Designed by Frederic Clay Bartlett in a Plantation style and built in 1920-1921. The upper level contains the Master Bedroom, three Guest Bedrooms and two smaller bedrooms. IMG_7600
Bonnet HouseBonnet House
Bonnet House

Bonnet House from the rear. Designed by Frederic Clay Bartlett in his interpretation of a Caribbean Plantation style house and built in 1920-1921. The upper level contains the Master Bedroom, three Guest Bedrooms and two smaller bedrooms. The walled Courtyard is at right. DSC_0683
Seashell CollectionSeashell Collection
Seashell Collection

Shell Museum and Orchard House. Installed in 1935. The round outbuilding displays Evelyn (Fortune) Bartlett's seashell collection. IMG_7604
Caretaker's CottageCaretaker's Cottage
Caretaker's Cottage

Caretaker's Cottage. The first structure built on the property. Used as exhibit space and the shop. When Bonnet House was built in 1920-1921, the surrounding land consisted of dunes, scrub and marshes and was reachable only by boat. IMG_7587p1
Bonnet House SloughBonnet House Slough
Bonnet House Slough

Bonnet House Slough. The Mangrove Swamp is a freshwater slough. DSC_0654


Tot: 3.45s; Tpl: 0.337s; cc: 15; qc: 27; dbt: 0.2894s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 9; ; mem: 1.3mb