Blue Room Object Installation Begins

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

If you visit Mount Vernon today, you will find the Blue Room door closed once again. Behind the door, Collections Management and Curatorial staff have begun the installation process of the room. This means that we are carefully moving in and arranging all of the objects which will furnish the newly restored room. The Curatorial staff have extensively…

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A Sociable Set

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Here’s a peek at what’s coming together in the Blue Room: one of six handsomely carved English rococo chairs, c. 1755-1765, dressed with a reproduction slip cover of “fashionable . . . blew and white” printed cotton. The beautifully preserved set represents the six mahogany chairs that stood in the Blue Room in 1799, as recorded on George Washington…

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Rising Again--A New Finial for an Old Mirror

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

By 1799, the contents of the Blue Room notably included “1 large looking glass.” To represent it, curators chose a period example typical of the large, pediment looking glasses available at the time. But as we discovered, it was missing its crowning feature. Overall, the looking glass was in relatively good condition with a long and storied history…

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A "neat cut Cornish"

Monday, August 21, 2017

As discussed last week, the reproduction bed for the Blue Room will be based on a “fashionable” blue-and-white draped bed ordered by the Washingtons in 1759. That bed no longer survives, but fortunately, the detailed descriptions do. One of the bed’s most distinctive features, and the most challenging to interpret, was the cloth-covered “neat cut Cornish…

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A Fashionable Blue and White Bed

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The focal point of the newly-refurnished Blue Room will be a bedstead draped in blue-printed cotton, based on the documentary references to a bed the Washingtons acquired in 1759 that was likely representative of the bed in the Blue Room. While the original bed and hangings no longer survive, the original descriptions of them provide sufficient clues…

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Revolutionary War Reenacting

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

For the last three years, we have hosted hundreds of reenactors for Revolutionary War Weekend. This year, one of our staff members adorned 18th-century clothing and immersed himself in the reenactor's experience. Our staff member camped with the First Virginia Regiment, who gave insight into their military equipment and why they enjoy reenacting. He…

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High Fashion for the Blue Room: French Wallpaper

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The wallpaper applied to the walls in the Blue Room was painstakingly researched and selected by the curatorial team. Three key considerations guided the team’s choice of reproduction wallpaper: date, country of origin, and color. In order to best represent the Washingtons’ choice for this space, we considered the evidence for each factor. Unfortunately…

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New in the Mansion's Little Parlor

Friday, June 30, 2017

In the 1790s, while in New York and Philadelphia with her grandparents, Eleanor (Nelly) Park Custis received an exceptional education that included drawing lessons with British landscape artist William Groombridge. Throughout her life, she continued to paint and Mount Vernon has several reproductions of Nelly's original watercolors.  In the Little…

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Fireworks in the 18th Century

Thursday, June 29, 2017

In the 18th century,  the Washingtons watched fireworks on several occasions throughout their lives, often to celebrate a historic moment. On the evening of George Washington's first inauguration in 1789, for example, the skies in New York City were filled with fireworks. Boston merchant John May reported that the fireworks “on the bowling green…

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Paint and Wallpaper Application

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Once the Architecture team completed the repair work in the Blue Room, the decorative wall and woodwork finishes could be applied. The most dramatic transformation of the restoration was the application of the period-appropriate wallpaper and paint. All of the woodwork in the room was first primed with shellac—a technique used during the 18th century…

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