Afton Villa, a Southern Gothic Tragedy

This blogging is a curious business, the following , is a suggestion from a reader. In my opinion, a reader of great merit, not only an avid history buff and preservationist, she happens to be the great, great, great niece of the artist George Miller Grieg. Mr. Grieg was the painter commissioned by Queen Victoria, to paint the interiors of Holyrood. I posted about Holyrood and it’s interiors in June. I suggest you take a peek , marvelous stuff.

Through this happy meeting I have been introduced to the fantastic, now lost, antebellum estate, Afton Villa.

Afton Villa

St. Francisville Parish, Louisiana

Gothic Revival plantation

ca. 1840

destroyed by fire 1963

The following images taken by the WPA ( now available through the Louisiana Historical  Photographic Collection) testify to the magnificence of this lost treasure. Always fond of American Gothic Revival, this 40 room plantation house , was a stunning example.

B&W photo, circa 1940’s

charming image

Afton Villa, front entrance

detail of porch

detail of entrance gallery

Definitely my favorite image in the series, the lack of interior shots curious. Perhaps the then unfashionable interiors were not deemed  a worthy subject for documentation.

a particularly romantic image

A striking image showing the stair tower.

Just look at that thing!


Avenue of live oaks.

Southern enough for you??

We all need a gatehouse.

Another romantic view of this great beauty.

Rear view?

I love this shot, slightly ungainly,  a charming quirkiness.

As a contrast to these tasteful images, I present a few of those really garishly colored 60’s postcards I so love.

Rather forlorn image

The reverse describes Afton Villa as “a famous French Chateau (????), now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Percy’, it goes on to describe “it’s hand carved Rosewood suite”, one assumes Belter or some knockoff.

another image, same room, same “Rosewood suite”.

I love how stiffly formal interiors appeared in the 60’s.

The following is of a bedroom, presumably Master.

The reverse describes the “original Rosewood bedroom suite by Mallard.

Love the crucifix.

I sincerely thank the great, great , great ,niece of the talented Mr. Grieg. I will close with an image of Mr. Grieg from her family photo album, a treasure.

George Miller Grieg



Good Night.



5 Responses to “Afton Villa, a Southern Gothic Tragedy”

  1. How wonderful to find this write up on my favorite plantation home, Afton Villa! It truly was and still is, in my opinion, a grand example of Southern style and culture to this day. So many of these fine examples of the plantation life have perished, left to demolition by neglect or simply fallen prey to fires, vandalism or developers not having the knowledge and intellect regarding the value that these treasures hold inside their walls.

    Your blog is a breath of fresh air…you’re not only talented, but you ‘get it’ by admiring and respecting the masters of the old (and new) world of art!

    Again…what a wonderful piece you’ve presented here. Thank you!


  2. Oh , I’m glad , thank you for the intro, I was hoping you would enjoy it.
    I updated the Afton post so the link to Grieg is more easily accessed.
    It saddens me deeply to see buildings perish under ignorance and neglect.
    I had quite sad news this weekend in that I discovered one of my former homes, a marvelous brick cottage 1769, it was called The Little Hermitage ; has been turned into some non-profit with little regard for its beauty or charm. My heart is broken, the dear house has been a brave soldier in a neighborhood abandoned to crime, poverty, and drugs.
    Thank you for the kind words,

  3. Glenn Thurmond Says:

    What a magnificent memory for me. I visited this beautiful monstrosity when I was twelve years old. How sad it is gone forever.

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      I was told of this beauty by another reader who shared your sadness. I am envious you had to see her in her declining years.

  4. Fr. Ulysses D'Aquila Says:

    Wonderful blog, so well written and terrific seldom seen photos. I’m from St. Francisville, Louisiana and was friends with Wally Percy, whose home Afton Villa was. A spectacular and unusual house. The night it burned, my uncle and all the town’s volunteer fire fighters were out there, and so was I, still an young adolescent. I remember Dorothy Percy saying, as the flames lit up the stained glass windows of the house from within, “What a beautiful tragedy.”

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