Dimensions: 18' 7"x 13' 5"; ceiling 18' 8"
Source: Temple of Fortuna Virilis from Palladio; frieze from Desgodetz, Les Édifices Antiques de Rome.
Color: There is evidence that the room was once wallpapered; today it is painted oyster white.
Purpose of Room: Bedroom
Architectural Features: Alcove Bed, open on both sides, joins the Bedroom with Jefferson's Cabinet, or office -- a hinged, double-door screen (not shown today) separated the two rooms when shut; a privy was located near one end of the bed, an early example of indoor bathroom facilities in America; the room features one of the house's thirteen skylights; closet over the bed utilized space efficiently and was accessible via ladder.
Furnishings of Note: Clothes "horse" in closet (not shown in the house today); obelisk clock at foot of bed enabled Jefferson to get out of bed "with the sun"; crimson silk counterpane with fringe (designed by Jefferson) covered the bed; mirrors were used to maximize the natural light.
Objects on Display in this Room
Primary Source References
1807. (Sir Augustus John Foster). "...the President had his bed placed in a doorway..."
1815 November 4. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "In the closet over my bed you will find a bag tied up, and labelled 'Wolf-skin pelisse' and another labelled 'fur boots,' wherein those articles are found. The pelisse had better be sowed up in a striped blanket to keep it clean and uninjured; the boots in any coarse wrapper."
1823 January 18. (Margaret Bayard Smith). "The bed is built into the wall, in a sort of alcove, which in winter must be very comfortable, as it excludes every draught of air--but in the summer, must for the same reason be very uncomfortable. I observed the same arrangement in all the chambers I saw. On the wall, at the foot of the bed was hung his pistols and sword, which I imagine has not been removed for many a year: against the wall, at the head of his bed, was a lamp, which enabled him, when he wished to read, to do it with great safety and convenience."
- 1. Augustus John Foster, Jeffersonian America: Notes on the United States of America Collected in the Years 1805-6-7 and 11-12 by Augustus John Foster, Bart., ed. Richard Beale Davis (San Marino, Cal.: Huntington Library, 1954), 144.
- 2. Francis Calley Gray, Thomas Jefferson in 1814: Being an Account of a Visit to Monticello, Virginia (Boston: The Club of Odd Volumes, 1924), 74.
- 3. Family Letters, 441.
- 4. Richmond Enquirer, January 18, 1823.