Follow our progress as we restore the Blue Bedchamber on the second floor of the Mansion.

The Widow Custis' Inheritance in the Blue Room

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Among the mid-century (18th century that is) style furnishings that will make their appearance in the Blue Room is a mahogany bureau dressing table, a Richmond-made reproduction of a Williamsburg-made original that once seamlessly translated British style to the colonies. The original dressing table for the Blue Room has not been identified, but…

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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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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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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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18th-Century Mantel Repairs and Reinstallation

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A key feature of the architectural restoration of the Blue Room is the repair and reinstallation of the room’s original 18th-century mantel. When the room was restored in the early 1980s, it was thought that the mantel in place at that time was not original, so it was removed and placed in storage. However, recent physical investigation, paint analysis…

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Window Sash Restoration and Conservation

Monday, May 08, 2017

As noted in previous blog updates, the Blue Room restoration involves many architecture-related activities. One such activity was addressing the window sashes, which were in need of repair, reglazing (resetting panes) and repainting. The window sashes are the wooden frames that hold the window panes and slide up or down in the larger window frame. The…

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