Music Room

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Anne Seddon Kinsolving Brown’s fiery, passionate temperament was moderated by her husband John Nicholas Brown II’s cooling force and the music room shows their relationship.  Anne’s bold possessions in the foreground show against the backdrop of John’s serene interior design. John, Anne, and their children—the last Brown family to live in the house—used the music room for family performances and small concerts.


When the house was built, this single room was divided in two by a partition, and each room had its own fireplace and door leading to the main hall. John Carter Brown removed most of the partition and replaced it with an arched opening, and he used the space as a “drawing” or reception room. Unlike the more formal parlor, the host entertained guests in the drawing room, either before or after dinner.


In the 1920s, John Nicholas Brown II removed the archway and one of the fireplaces and updated the other fireplace to include an Italian marble mantle. When he married Anne, the drawing room became a music room, reflecting the couple’s mutual interest.


John and Anne Brown invited famous musicians to play at their home and performed as a family quintet for guests. John played the cello, Anne played the violin, and their children played the violin and piano. John Nicholas Brown II also founded the St. Dunstan’s College of Sacred Music in 1929, and Anne Brown started the the Newport Music Festival in 1969.  The music room continued as a showcase for the talents of John and Anne’s grandchildren. Today, Brown University students and faculty play the grand piano in practice or in small recitals

Minah Seo

Minah Seo, Brown University, BA, 2019