Violetta Delafield - Introduction

Violetta Delafield




During the decades of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, Violetta White Delafield (1875-1949) re-shaped the gardens and landscape of Montgomery Place, her country home, to reflect the prevailing styles of the early twentieth century.

Her husband John Ross Delafield inherited Montgomery Place in 1921, at the death of the property’s life tenant Carleton Hunt.

Violetta was as dedicated to creating successful gardens on the estate as Janet Montgomery, Louise Livingston, and Cora Barton had been before her in the 19th century, though each generation's definition of a successful garden meant something quite different.

Violetta was the daughter of wealthy American expatriates. Born in Florence, Italy, and raised mainly in the south of France, Violetta grew up speaking several languages and receiving her education from tutors. When she and her family returned to the United States in 1890, they lived in New York City and also had a country house in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Some time in the 1890s Violetta began to study botany with an intensity that foreshadowed her lifelong orientation toward the natural world.


Violetta Susan White, by E. Gunner. Pastel on paper, c. 1882. Bard College, Montgomery Place Collection.

Violetta White Delafield, by S. Schreier. Oil on ivory and brass, c. 1904. Bard College, Montgomery Place Collection.

< back1 of 1next chapter