Cheekwood reopened last week following renovations to return the house and gardens to their original splendor. NPT’s original documentary, Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature, ventures behind the scenes for an in-depth look at the mansion and grounds. The 30-minute program premieres Thursday, June 22, at 8 p.m., and includes sweeping aerial views of the estate; original sketches by Cheekwood’s architect, Bryant Fleming; and footage of the Cheek family’s 1920s tours of Europe.
Cheekwood was built between 1929 to 1932 by Leslie and Mabel Cheek, as a house designed to look old though it featured innovative engineering. Today the estate survives as one of the few complete examples of the American Country Place Era, a magnificent blend of architecture, landscape and interior design. Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature illuminates the estate’s genesis in European aspirations that resulted in a uniquely American architectural movement.
The documentary also analyzes the inspired aesthetic of Bryant Fleming, an architect who specialized in creating environments that seamlessly blended architecture and nature.
“Even though there were changes that had happened to accommodate the new uses, the seven-acre core of that property was as the Cheeks and Fleming had imagined it,” Charles A. Birnbaum, President and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, says in the documentary. “We should never take that for granted, because it is a rare place where house and garden still survive today of that era where you can understand what it might have been like to live during that time.”
Others appearing in the film are Jane MacLeod, Cheekwood’s President & CEO; Leslie Jones, Cheekwood’s Senior Vice President of Museum Affairs & Curator of Decorative Arts; architectural historian Hugh Howard; Carroll Van West, director of MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation; Carole Bucy, Davidson County Historian and Professor of History, Volunteer State Community College; and author Gayle Knight (Bryant Fleming, Landscape Architect: Residential Designs, 1905-1935).
Additional broadcast times for Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing on our website, wnpt.org.
- Monday, June 26, at 8 a.m. on NPT2
- Tuesday, June 27, at 1 p.m. on NPT2
- Saturday, July 22, at 5 p.m. on NPT2
- Sunday, July 23, at 1 p.m. on NPT2
Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature was produced by filmmaker Mary Makley, whose most recent documentary for NPT was Aging Matters: Living with Alzheimer’s & Dementia. Makley was also executive producer and producer of NPT’s award-winning Children’s Health Crisis documentary series.
NPT’s Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature is made possible by the generous support of Mrs. Lillian ‘Tooty’ Bradford; Carlene Lebous and Harris Haston; Tricia and William Hastings; and Linde and Blair Wilson.