Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 5

My apologies… It has taken awhile for me to publish this latest Biltmore post.

Until now, the photographs I made at the Biltmore House, in Asheville, N.C., focused on the ornate and luxurious appointments that were enjoyed by the Vanderbilts and their guests.

In this post, we take a look at the “downstairs”, the behind-the-scenes areas where the staff prepared food and did the more mundane tasks like cleaning the laundry.

The Brown Laundry was just a small part of the large laundry complex at the Biltmore House. There was a tremendous amount of laundry generated not only by the Vanderbilt’s, but by the large number of servants, as well as guests.

This particular room was shot during the day, and the house tour was still going on. We heard the funniest comments as the visitors looked in to see what I was doing:

“Look… he is checking for plumbing leaks” and “The electricity failed in that room”

Also: “He is looking for ghosts” and with my small LED panel in hand: “He’s ironing”.

Needless to say we got a chuckle from these comments.

In the Brown Laundry, hand washables and staff laundry were laboriously cleaned on tin washboards in the brown enameled basins. In the foreground is a ridged roller for crimping pleats.

Light painted photograph of the Brown Laundry at the Biltmore House

Photograph by Harold Ross

The wooden “cradle”, a hand-agitated mechanical washing machine from the early 1900s.

Light painted photograph of the Brown Laundry at the Biltmore House

 Photograph by Harold Ross

In this video you can see the lighting of the sinks:

The canning Pantry is just one of several pantries in the kitchen complex. The pantries were used for production and storage of various goods used in cooking for the Vanderbilts and their guests.

The Canning Pantry, Light painted photograph at the Biltmore House by Harold Ross

 Photograph by Harold Ross

The lid press:

The Lid Press in the Canning Pantry, Light painted photograph at the Biltmore House

 Photograph by Harold Ross

Photographing at the Biltmore House was an honor and a rewarding experience.

A huge THANKS to Jim Ryan, who made this project possible, and who spent many late hours with me shooting and doing post production.

And, for logistical help on the shoot, thanks to Laura Overbey, Collections Manager at the Biltmore, who helped us coordinate everything, and stayed late for us while we photographed the Biltmore House.

Thanks to Cindy Bradley of Museum Services, who assisted us in the photography of the Brown Laundry and Canning Pantry.

And, of course, thanks to my wife Vera for, as always, helping me every step of the way!

All material in this post © Harold Ross 2015

~ by Harold Ross on June 26, 2015.

8 Responses to “Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 5”

  1. Beautiful work!

  2. Always enjoy your photography, it is amazing looks more like paintings than photography!

  3. I love, love the Mason jar photo!

  4. As always Harold amazing photography. If it’s not because of the distance for sure i would attend on of your courses. Keep up the good job.

    Mario Mifsud

  5. Beautiful images!

  6. The best time in my photographic career was the 3 days under your guidance and teachings, you keep inspiring us all my friend, fantastic series, Mario I don’t where you are in the world but I guarantee to you that you will make a great investment taking the time to learn from Harold, I am in California and he is not close to me, but again, one of the best investments I could make taking the time to go and learn from him, that besides the fact of the great time we have in class.

  7. Even those brown laundry troughs have a glamour about them, very much in keeping with the Vanderbilt myth. And that mangle, brings back memories from my very early youth spent in a convent and seeing how their laundry functioned. Great images, Harold!

  8. I’ve sincerely enjoyed thes posts of the Biltmore. Your photographs have such a magical feel to them. Thank you for sharing with us. :)

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