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Gainsborough Studios

Central Park South today is more associated with tourists and horse carriages than artists. But in 1908, an entire building was built, just so a group of artists could have uninterrupted Northern light.  In 1903, a whiney artist named V.V. Sewell complained that no one understands how hard it is to find a decent studio in New York. Along with a group of artists who called themselves the Gainsborough Corporation, they banded together to build an epic studio and apartment building for themselves.

Central Park, Artist Studios, manhattan, Gainsborough Corporation, Gainsborough Studios

And build it they did. The Gainsborough Studios stand out amongst the other high rises along the block. The lower levels are decked with intricate Victorian stone carvings, including a bust of Thomas Gainsborough himself. The top floors show ornate Edwardian tiles in bright colors, made in 18th Century German pottery from an artisan in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Central Park, Artist Studios, manhattan, Gainsborough Corporation, Gainsborough Studios
The interior boasts 18 foot ceilings- a rarity at the time, achieved by filing the building as a hotel rather than an apartment building. The north facing studios were filled with light, rich mahogany and oak woodwork, ornate balconies and fire places, built in cabinets and leaded glass doors.

The luxury building hosted well-to do men and women artists over the greater part of the century, who shared kitchen areas, a reception area, laundry and private restaurant.

In 1924, an interior decorator named Paul C.  Leatherman held a sculptor named Helene M. R. White captive in his first floor studio. Other than that, the biggest scandal is the current rent for an apartment there.

What: Gainsborough Studios

Where: 222 Central Park South

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