Gainsborough Studios 222 Central Park South New York was built in 1908, The Gainsborough is one of the few notable “studio” buildings, a style from the early of the 20th century embracing voluminous interiors and access to natural light. Within its 16 stories, the front 34 apartments all have double-height living rooms facing north overlooking Central Park. Flanked by the post-war 220 CPS on the east and the deco-inspired 230 CPS, the façade of the Gainsborough is unique from the double-story windows to the frieze at the entry. It is the only pre World War I building on the 200 block of CPS. In lieu of a traditional doorman there is an elevator man beyond the wrought-iron clad entry doors. The first-level houses an architecture office.
Central Park South today is more associated with tourists and horse carriages than artists. But in 1908, an entire building was built, just so a group of artists could have uninterrupted Northern light. In 1903, a whiney artist named V.V. Sewell complained that no one understands how hard it is to find a decent studio in New York. Along with a group of artists who called themselves the Gainsborough Corporation, they banded together to build an epic studio and apartment building for themselves.
And build it they did. The Gainsborough Studios stand out amongst the other high rises along the block. The lower levels are decked with intricate Victorian stone carvings, including a bust of Thomas Gainsborough himself. The top floors show ornate Edwardian tiles in bright colors, made in 18th Century German pottery from an artisan in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.The interior boasts 18 foot ceilings- a rarity at the time, achieved by filing the building as a hotel rather than an apartment building. The north facing studios were filled with light, rich mahogany and oak woodwork, ornate balconies and fire places, built in cabinets and leaded glass doors.