This small, handsome and dimly lit passageway between the dining room and the kitchen provides an attractive space to drink and talk. In fact, the combination of a collection of gin and wine bottles next to the pretty copper sink and the black rotary phone (with pen and pad) in the corner makes it possible to drink and talk at the same time, even if alone.
There is something both festive and melancholy about this room. In the cabinets, colorful fiesta ware dishes show through the glass doors. On the shelf below these, Ashbery displays his collection of eight daffy duck glasses (amassed over thirty years).
The images on the walls, all involving food or drink, however, tell a lonelier story: unknown men and women; a basket of peaches; Archie Rand’s “Bombay Gin”; Rudy Burckhardt’s “Jumbo Malted”; Joe Shannon’s portrait of art critic Walter Hopps holding a drink; and a Paris menu from the 1920s.
Despite its poopularity in the 1930s and 1940s, John Ashbery did not grow up with these pieces. He began to collect them in the 1980s.
John Ashbery’s husband, David Kermani, gave him this Parian Ware Vase (on the bottom left) in the early 1970s.
John Ashbery’s collection of eight daffy duck glasses in the Butler’s Pantry is just one smart part of his daffy duck figure and image collection, which can also be seen in the upstairs sitting room, the yellow room, and in his New York City apartment.
This rotary telephone, once of the first items John Ashbery bought for the house, has stayed in this spot in the Butler’s Pantry since 1978.
These two dime-store portraits of an unknown sailor and an unknown woman fit the bar-like atmosphere of this room.
These two still lifes: a basket of peaches (one of the fruits sold on the Ashbery fruit farm) and Archie Rand’s painting of Bombay Gin connect the dining room (with its fruit theme) and the kitchen (with its signs of popular things).
This very lightweight metal tray, with its image of ice skaters, was a present from the poet Kenneth Koch to John Ashbery to commemorate the long poem, “The Skaters” (Rivers and Mountains, 1966), which Koch had first seen in manuscript form.
Ashbery purchased this “Ice Water” pitcher in Hudson shortly after he bought the house, and he used it quite often.
Rudy Burckhardt’s “Jumbo Malted” (1940) was given as a gift to John Ashbery after he contributed a catalog text for Burckhardt’s Tibor de Nagy exhibition in 2008.
Joe Shannon’s painting of “walter Hopps” (1979) was given as a gift to Ashbery by the painter. Ashbery bought the French menu (below), which advertises “L’Heure du Cocktail,” in Paris in the 1960s.
This William Morris “Tobacco Leaf” paper, which is darker but has the same design as the one in the upstairs sitting room, was one of the very last rooms that Ashbery papered.