A near in-country estate situated on the shore of Greenwich Bay at Cowesett in southern Warwick, RI, Clouds Hill was constructed in 1872-77 by Providence textile manufacturer William Smith Slater (1817-1882). His uncle Samuel Slater (1768-1835), “Father of the American Industrial Revolution”, brought English cotton spinning technology to America and in partnership with younger brother John Slater (1776-1843)–William S. Slater’s father–founded a network of cotton mills and mill towns throughout New England. The new country estate was intended for Mr. Slater’s eldest daughter Elizabeth Ives Slater (1849-1917) on the occasion of her marriage to Alfred Augustus Reed, Jr. (1845-1895) whose family were traders in the Dutch East Indies colony of Batavia (Jakarta) prior to retiring to New England.
The estate descended to the senior female in the family over four generations and passed through the Reed and Allen families by marriage. In practice, it functioned for years as both a working farm and seasonal residence, once comprising 500 acres, now reduced to just less than 30. The main house, built of rough-hewn local granite, was designed in a transitional Gothic Revival-Italianate style by Providence architect William R. Walker. The interior decoration was created by William McPherson & Co., with furnishings by Doe & Hunnewell, both of Boston.
Built when McPherson was simultaneously executing the interiors of Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport, under Richard Morris Hunt, the house was never substantially altered and retains all of its original contents together with those of subsequent generations. Emblematic of America’s evolving and trailblazing pursuit of new horizons–technological and social–Clouds Hill today retains its authenticity, not only physically, but also in the preservation of its residents’ personalities and spirit.
Curated by Paul Miller
June 29, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Generously supported by Bank Newport