The three-story brick mansion (1788), designed for John Brown by his brother Joseph, impressed many who came to see it. John Quincy Adams, who visited the house, proclaimed it to be "the most magnificent and elegant private mansion that I have ever seen on this continent." Inside, the carved doorways, columns, cornices and lavish plaster-ornamented ceilings provide an appropriate setting for the treasured collection of Rhode Island furnishings, most of which are Brown family pieces. The unique blockfront secretary boasts nine shells carved into its front (shell secretaries normally have only six carved shells). Attributed to Rhode Island cabinetmaker John Goddard, this piece is one of the finest existing examples of American Colonial furniture.
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