2. The Russells’ Newport Mansion

  • The Elms in Newport
  • Kitchen staff on The Gilded Age

On a trip to Newport, Rhode Island to check on the state of her new mansion, Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon) introduces the central drama of this season as she walks the expansive grounds with Ward McCallister (Nathan Lane). Bertha wants a box at the opera. As in the first season, she wrestles with trying to win approval from the old money figures like Mrs. Astor (who is seemingly keeping her out of the Academy of Music), or to strike out on new territory and blaze her own trail (support the new Metropolitan Opera).

The lavish Newport estate scenes were shot at The Elms, a 1901 mansion modeled after an 18th-century French chateau. It was designed by Horace Trumbauer, an architect who also designed Lynnewood Hall near Philadelphia, one of the largest Gilded Age mansions still standing. Both the exterior and interiors of The Elms are shown on screen. The viewer is treated to scenes of the marble-clad entryway, the gilded ballroom, the library, and the sprawling downstairs kitchen area.