Points to Ponder

Cą d'Zan has always been said to mean "House of John" in Venetian dialect, but it also means "House of Zany". Zany is a synonym for clown and the pun was not lost on John, whose sense of humor and perspective are generally overlooked. Source The Ringling Legacy, Pat Ringling Buck, p20.

Rüngeling: The family's name was Rüngeling (with umlaut). Then, when the 5 brothers started to perform in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the newspapers misspelled their name and called them the Ringling Brothers. After this they adopted that easier to pronounce and to spell name. Source: Great American Mansions, Merrill Folsom.

Emily Haag Buck and John met for the first time in the most beautiful city in the world.
Was is Venice?, Monte Carlo? NY?, Sarasota? Nah, it was Amsterdam. It was on a 4th July party in 1930 at the American Embassy. Source: Ringling, the Florida Years + David Weeks verbally.

Willy Pogany painted the "Dancers of the Nations" on canvas in his New York studio and they were then shipped to Sarasota for installation. Source: Ringling, the Florida Years.

Miss Congo: In addition to the birds and dogs at Cą d'Zan, Miss Congo (a 160 lbs, 7 year old gorilla) moved to Cą d'Zan in 1927 to recover from "mental depression" and died a year later. Source: Curatorial Report 1990 Michael McDonough.

The Aeolian organ could be played manually as well as mechanically. Source: Cą d'Zan: Ringling Residence.

The grand piano in the court is a 1905 German Steinway in a rosewood case, signed by Mellier. However, Mable and John could not play it. Source: Cą d'Zan: Ringling Residence and Herald-Tribune D.Weeks interview 4/21/02.

King of Cyprus: Between the beds in John's bedroom hangs a small portrait of Jacopo di Lusignan, a 15th C. King of Cyprus, husband of that Caterina Cornaro in whose honor the tiny Asolo Theater (now part of our Museum) was built near Venice in 1798. Source: Cą d'Zan: Ringling Residence.

Robert Web: In 1961 Robert Webb returns to Cį d'Za. He cleans and restores the Jacob de Wit painting on the ceiling of John's bedroom. He installs molding around the painting and goldleafs that. He removes the canvas, which surrounded the de Wit painting (with Webb's own design from 1927) and paints and glazes the bare exposed ceiling. Source: Curatorial Report 1990 Michael McDonough.

The Museum complex stands on 64 acres. Source: Herald-Tribune D.Weeks interview 4/21/02.

The Persian Silk rug (Tabriz), "The Tree of Life", which now hangs next to the entry to the Solarium, is from 1860 and of the highest quality and very valuable.
The Aubusson rug on the floor is also very valuable and probably worth $300,000 to $500,000.
Source: Ron McCarty during one of the Cą d'Zan training classes.
N.B. Aubusson rugs were famous, because they used 300 different colors in their design.
Remember: We were always taught never to mention today's monetary values of objects.

Chandelier: The Ringling Museum has no records when the chandelier was purchased.
The obvious conclusion is that it would have been after the Waldorf Astoria hotel closed its doors on May 3, 1929.
Mable died one month later and would probably not have been in Sarasota in May and June. Cą d'Zan was usually closed again in time for the two big circuses to open in Chicago and NY mid March. Therefore it is unlikely that Mable would have  seen the chandelier hang in the great court.

Tennis Courts: In 1946 Austin changes the run down red clay tennis courts (made from Georgia clay) to grass courts.


Bas-relief nudes on exterior: When John saw them for the first time, he was shocked and had a figleaf added to the male. When Florida took over the mansion in 1948 it was removed. Source: Great American Mansions, Merrill Folsom.

Oriental characters: The "oriental characters", painted by Webb in the various bedrooms are (according to one of my friends) not Japanese, not Chinese and not Korean. However, if you look at them closely then you can recognize the letters WEB. I think that he signed his work and is having some fun with us. This view is totally my own and has not been endorsed by the Museum.

The Skylight in the court has actually another more robust skylight over it. The skylight is 30 feet from the floor. Source: Country Life 1927.

Floors in entry and ball room are of Indian teak, screwed to a concrete floor. Source: R. The Florida Years, D. Weeks.
The thickness is only 1/16th of an inch. Source: Ron McCarty verbally in training sessions.

Stairwell: The steps are made of Carrara marble and the handrail of gold Sienna marble and revetment of white Onyx wall sheathing. Source: Museum sponsor literature.

John in Cą d'Zan: After Mable died in June 1929, John lived another 7 years, but his pleasure in Cą d'Zan had ended. It was estimated that in those 7 years he occupied the house less than 100 days. Source: The Ringling Legacy, Pat Ringling Buck.

Torchčres: The two torchčres in the court came from the home of NY Judge Henry Hilton. Source: Ron McCarty in SNN6 interview4/3-/02

Game Table: Mable might have done the needlepoint work on the game table. Source: Ron McCarty in SNN6 interview4/3-/02

Shawl: The antique (Chinese) hand-embroidered shawl currently draped over the settee in the Cą d'Zan's Great Hall, once belonged to Margarita, the last Queen of Italy (for whom the "Margarita" pizza was allegedly named.) It had been given to the sister (Laura Corino) of the donor in 1920, by Count Paolo Malfatti of Cittadella, Italy, with several other art pieces that were taken during WWII. The shawl had been buried and was therefore not discovered by the Germans. After the war (1950) it was sent to the donor, in whose name it was presented last year to the Ringling Museum. Source: What's Happening... August 2002

John's Bedroom set: John Ringling's bedroom is furnished with a set of nine pieces of  French Second Empire furniture made by Antoine Krieger (1800-1860) in Paris in the early 1850s. Dwight Baum mistakenly thought that it belonged to Emperor Napoleon III at Fontainebleau. On his advice John bought it for $35,000 (that would be $750,000 in today's money) at an auction in New York.
The original set, which did belong to Napoleon III (1808-1873) is now at the palace of Malmaison near Paris. 
The furniture-making firm of Maison Krieger was run by Antoine and his brother Nicolas.  The firm was the premier furniture maker in Paris from the 1820s through the 1850s, after which their sons-in-law took over the company and changed the name.

External coating of the mansion in 2000: Edison Restoration Products: Custom SYSTEM 45 terra cotta patch, Custom SYSTEM 45 Marble patch, Elastowall 351 Breathable Elastomeric Coating (Stucco and Terra Cotta), #342 Primer/ Sealer/Consolidant (Sgraffito Plaster and Stucco), Aquathane UA210-NCL polyurethane glaze replacement coatings, Elasto-Mastic 352 crack sealant (stucco).

Auction of Cą d'Zan:
The Federal Court in Tampa had ordered Cą d'Zan to be auctioned on 7 December 1936 to satisfy an old debt. John died in NY on December 2, just a few days before that was to take place. John Ringling North then went to the Governor and Attorney General in Tallahassee and had the auction cancelled. After that his estate went through legal battles and probate for the next 10 years.