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.
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.
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
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.
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.
organ could be played manually as well as mechanically. Source: Cą d'Zan:
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
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
complex stands on 64 acres. Source: Herald-Tribune D.Weeks interview
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
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
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.
In 1946 Austin changes the run down red clay tennis courts (made from Georgia clay) to
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.
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.
in the court has actually another more robust skylight over it. The skylight is 30 feet
from the floor. Source: Country Life 1927.
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
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
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.
The two torchčres in the court came from the home of NY Judge Henry Hilton. Source: Ron
McCarty in SNN6 interview4/3-/02
Mable might have done the needlepoint work on the game table. Source: Ron McCarty in SNN6
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
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.
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.