It seems like perpetual summer as light floods into the spacious rooms of Hill-Stead, illuminating the Claude Monet haystack paintings and the James McNeill Whistler seascapes. First occupied in 1901, the voluminous Colonial Revival country manse in Farmington, Conn., was designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, one of the country’s first female architects, with an eye toward providing great display space for the art amassed in the late 19th century by her father. Alfred Pope’s collection represents many top Impressionists. An industrialist with avant-garde ideas about art and unerring if untutored taste, Pope befriended many of the artists and collected their work across their careers.
“No matter where you sit, you’ll see something glorious,” said guide Eleanor Lecours as we entered the L-shaped living room, where three Manets, three Monets, and a Degas hang on the walls. “And the view outside rivals the art.” This time of year that view is of frozen New England.