How a Newport sitting room inspired Julian Fellowes to make HBO's 'Gilded Age'
NEWPORT — Julian Fellowes, creator of "Downton Abbey" and "The Gilded Age," was under strict orders from HBO to not give away any plot elements from "Gilded Age" season 2 when he spoke to reporters Tuesday in one of the mansions that inspired the drama series and served as the set for some scenes.
But one thing slipped:
The Preservation Society of Newport County is about to launch a special "Inside 'The Gilded Age' " tour of four of its mansions where the series, now producing its second season, has been filmed.
Fellowes chatted with reporters in Marble House, the real-life former home of socialite Alva Vanderbilt, the inspiration for "The Gilded Age's" Bertha Russell, played by Carrie Coon.
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Sitting in the mansion's first-floor Gold Room, Fellowes told about a visit he paid to Vanderbilt's sitting room on the mezzanine.
"I did have a remarkable sense of the woman sitting there," Fellowes said.
Vanderbilt's second-floor bedroom is the inspiration for Russell's bedroom in the series, which is on a soundstage on Long Island.
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The special tours, which will bring visitors to The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer, will begin Friday and will be offered at first only on a trial basis to guests of three Newport hotels: the Newport Marriott, The Vanderbilt and The Chanler, according to Preservation Society spokesman Gary Ruff. The four-hour tours will be limited to 12 people.
The Friday-only tours are expected to last through Sept. 23.
Besides those taking the special tours, visitors on self-guided audio tours of The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and Rosecliff will hear about "Gilded Age" filming in those houses.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Special Newport mansion tours for fans of 'The Gilded Age' on HBO