139 Saint Gaudens Rd., Cornish, New Hampshire
This fine house—a large, elaborate structure set on high ground with distant views of the Vermont hills—was once the home of one of America’s most distinguished sculptors, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Originally a coach inn on the old stage road between Windsor and Meriden, it was bought by Saint-Gaudens in 1885 for a summer place, but from 1900 until his death in 1907 the estate served as his permanent home.
Here he combined his interests in gardening and the styles of the classical Greek and Roman periods to create a fairyland of porticoes, wide vistas, colonnades, and formal gardens. On the property are two studios, the Gallery and the Temple; the artist is buried in the latter. Many of Saint-Gaudens’s most famous works are on display all around here.
Saint-Gaudens’s father, an immigrant shoemaker, had encouraged his son’s artistic interests; remembering this, the sculptor named the estate Aspet after his father’s birthplace in France.
Saint-Gaudens was an inspirational teacher, and many young artists studied with him at Aspet. He encouraged students and apprentices to follow his personal inclination “to develop technique, and then to hide it.”
Park open year-round. Tours of Aspet offered late May–early Oct. Admission charged.