Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 04 December 2009 00:00Come be inspired for the holiday season as you immerse yourself in viewing An Elizabethan Banquet at Coe Hall on display now through Jan. 3. If you come over the Dec. 5, 6 weekend, you will see Ann Alford, giving a live, interactive interpretation of Queen Elizabeth I as she roams Coe Hall (11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).
All during the holiday season, through Jan. 3, special events are planned including, a gala banquet, puppets, singers, Elizabethan music, and magic are planned for bringing your family to Coe Hall, the Elizabethan Revival style mansion in Oyster Bay, an historic Gold Coast home.
Planting Fields Foundation Executive Director Henry B. Joyce has outdone himself in bringing you a piece of history gilded in enchantment. Four costumes from the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age have been lent by Universal Studios. Cate Blanchett wore the three dresses in the movie. The fourth costume, a man’s, was worn by Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh.
The costumes are part of a magnificent presentation filled with gold cups, great platters and salt cellars made from thrift store purchases and dollar store artifacts; the mundane made memorable. The movie, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, will show continuously. There will be special programs for children through 12 years of age, including a crafts area to make holiday ornaments.
The over 300 elaborate gold displays, many of which were crafted by Henry B. Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, are brushed with silver highlights. The room is a typical setting for royal occasions 400 years ago. The Elizabethans were into conspicuous consumption. Maryann Howard, collections manager, said it was important to Elizabeth, “How much more she accumulated than her father.” She collected about four times as much as Henry the Eighth did, she said. Indicative of that collection of golden objects is the display at Coe Hall.
Mr. Joyce, was earlier in his career a decorative arts curator and a specialist in the history of English gold and silver-gilt. A favorite, he said was a golden assemblage created to resemble a cup with a cover seen in an Albrecht Dürer print. He pointed to the antique cupboards in the room saying that they were designed to display “cups” such as are in the show.
Most of the furniture at Coe Hall is in the Elizabethan style. In the front entry is an exceptionally fine stained glass portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and in the main entrance hall is yet another image of the Queen.
Mr. Coe sold his 409-acre estate to the State of New York in 1949 for $1 so that the site would be saved in perpetuity and enjoyed by visitors. When Coe Hall was used as a college in the late 1950s and early 1960s (a precursor of the State University at Stony Brook), most of the house furnishings were removed. However, since the late 1970s the Planting Fields Foundation has returned about 80 percent of the furnishings to the house, and continues to restore the mansion and its many rooms. For instance the dining room still lacks its 16th-century tapestries of a stag hunt (one of Queen Elizabeth I’s great passions) that hopefully will one day be reinstated.
The Elizabethan Banquet display will be there now until Jan. 3. The mansion is open Friday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (closed Christmas Day, open New Year’s Day). There is a $10 exhibition fee for non-members; and a $3 exhibition fee for non-members (children 3yrs. – 12yrs). Members and children under 3 are admitted free. (The exhibition fee includes all weekend programming events scheduled.)
• Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6, at 12:30, Louise Rogers and Rick Strong will perform holiday favorites at Coe Hall.
• Ann Alford, who has portrayed Queen Elizabeth I for many years, will roam Coe Hall on Dec. 5 and 6, in her live, interactive interpretation of Queen Elizabeth I, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Sing holiday carols and sip hot chocolate while you wait for this year’s magnificent tree to light up the Planting Fields landscape on Friday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. Visit with Santa in the Main Greenhouse classroom and then visit the Elizabethan Banquet at Coe Hall until 8 p.m.
• Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk, a Planting Fields favorite, tells the secret of how a dour old bishop on a horse became jolly old Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13 from noon to 2 p.m.
• Small World Puppet Theatre’s Doodle-Bop- Wiggle-N-Dance appears at Coe Hall on Dec. 19 and 20 at 1 p.m. This great family program is a high energy, cabaret style puppet production for children ages 2-7. Singalong to your favorite songs, interact to silly skits, and jam like a real rock star just like on television.
• Come hear Elizabethan Banquet music at Coe Hall and see lutenist Dee Harris perform music from the Middle Ages and Celtic lands on Dec. 26 and 27 from noon to 2 p.m.
• The Elizabethan exhibit will be open at Coe Hall on New Year’s Day.
• See magic performed on Jan. 2 and 3 at 1 p.m. at Coe Hall. For further information about Planting Fields or special events, please contact Jennifer Lavella at 922-8678.
Coe Hall has become a favorite venue for families in this time of economic stress.