Protecting the Vaughan Mantelpiece

In 1784, George Washington wrote to family and friends in search of a marble surround suitable for his "New Room." In response, Samuel Vaughan, a recent émigré, presented this mantelpiece depicting pastoral life that originated from his home in Essex, England. Ever since Washington installed the mantelpiece in 1786, it has served as the centerpiece of the Mansion’s most public room.

As work for the Mansion Revitalization Project proceeded into the New Room and the cellar (beneath the New Room), Mount Vernon’s Preservation staff took steps to protect the Vaughan mantelpiece. First, details of the mantel were documented by Visual Asset Specialist George Brown. Collections Conservator Linda Landry will use Brown’s detailed photographs to monitor any possible changes in the mantel as work progresses.

Detailed photographs of the mantel will allow the Preservation team to monitor any possible changes as work progresses. (MVLA)


Landry also oversaw the creation and installation of the mantel’s protective crate, which was constructed by ELY, Inc., after the de-installation of the New Room.

Before and After

First Image
Second Image

See the custom-built box that will protect the Vaughan Mantelpiece during the Mansion Revitalization Project.

Mansion Revitalization Blog

Follow along as we post updates and discoveries from the landmark Mansion Revitalization Project.

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