During our visits to the Sublett-Miller mansion in Danville, Virginia we have noticed one thing, every item in that house is very unique and the stories about how Carla and her husband, Tom, attained them are very interesting. When I first posted my pictures of the interior quite a few people asked about the dragon artwork in the upstairs hall. It is quite an extraordinary piece!
Last Saturday we were there helping Carla around the house and she asked, “Want to hear the story about the dragons?”
We were not expecting the story that Carla told us. In fact we kind of looked at her like, really??!!
In 1895 Alva Vanderbilt divorced her first husband William Vanderbilt. Yes, THE VANDERBILT’S!!! After their divorce she married Oliver Belmont and she moved down the street to his home, Belcourt. After his death she reopened Marble House, which was hers outright after the divorce from William Vanderbilt. In the early 1900’s she had a chinese tea house built on the seaside cliffs. She even had builders come in from China to build it for her to make it more authentic. It was at this tea house where she hosted many rallies for women’s right to vote.
In the 1950’s a hurricane blew through that area of the north east and the tea house was lost in a flood. A few years ago Carla got a phone call from a man she regularly purchased antiques from. He said he had the dragons from the tea house and did she want them? Carla kept insisting that he was wrong, those were lost, impossible!!! As much as she insisted that couldn’t be them, he insisted even more that they were! They super imposed an original photograph of the dragons and it matched up identically!!
The dragons now reside at the Sublett-Miller mansion in Danville, Virginia!! Crazy!!