If you missed the "Upstairs Downstairs" tour at the Gamble House earlier this month, there's still a chance to have a lasting look inside the servant's quarters and the rest of the historic Arts and Crafts estate in the new book "The Gamble House: Building Paradise in California." The 200-page tome is the first publication on the home since its 2004 restoration.
"There's been an absence of a great coffee-table book where people can look at all the beautiful spaces they aren't often allowed to photograph on the tours," says Anne Mallek, curator of the Gamble House, which was designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908.
Along with 175 new photographs by Alexander Vertikoff and 49 previously unpublished archival photos of the family, the book features essays by Gamble House scholars, including Mallek's biography of the Gambles.
New details emerged about the family after Mallek learned of a treasure trove of material from Dr. Clarence Gamble, the youngest son of David and Mary, heirs to the Procter & Gamble fortune. After his death in 1966, his personal papers were placed with his wife Sarah's collection and donated to the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard when she died in 1984.
The papers offered fresh insight into the family's little-known five-month trip to Asia while the house was being built. The 8,100-square-foot estate includes elements that are reflective of the temples of Kyoto; among them, the stained-glass Japanese black pine motif on the front door, lanterns inscribed with the family's crest and multiple types of wood.
The collection also included a small, red-leather-bound journal, letters and photographs taken by 14-year-old Clarence, including a rare color photo of his mother aboard a jinrikisha. "He kept a log written on letterhead from the ships and hotels they stayed in from all over Korea, Japan and China," says Mallek.
"We always talk about the rich narrative of the architecture and design, but with the Gambles we felt like we were missing a deeper narrative," the curator says. "These letters help explain why the Gambles built such a unique house in Pasadena."
"The Gamble House: Building Paradise in California" is published by the Gamble House/USC School of Architecture and CityFiles Press.