Filed in:

Search the Encyclopedia

Learn More at the Jefferson Library »


Available in Our Online Shop

Tea Room


View Room Panorama

Dimensions: 15' 1"x 11' 2"; ceiling 17' 11" (shown on left; Dining Room is right)

Order: Doric

Source: A building in Albano, Italy, depicted in Fréart, Parallèle de l'Architecture Antique avec la Moderne

Color: Unpainted plaster; today the room is painted to replicate a plaster finish

Purpose of Room: Dining area; reading and writing area for Jefferson

Architectural features: double pocket doors on rollers separate the western-most, and coldest, Tea Room from the Dining Room; based on one of Jefferson's favorite architectural shapes, the octagon

Furnishings of Note: Jefferson referred to the room as his "most honorable suite" because in it he displayed many likenesses of his friends and American heroes, including busts of Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones, Marquis de Lafayette, and Washington; the room had a reading and writing arrangement perhaps similar to the one Jefferson kept in his Cabinet; at one time the room had a stove in a semi-circular niche in wall.

Objects on Display in this Room



This is a lovely room.


This is one of the most bright and cheerful rooms of the house, especially now with its new face-lift. The restoration of the room's paint to chrome-yellow is stunning. The table is newly set with green shell-edge pearlware, a ceramic pattern we find archaeologically across the mountain. It would have been a true pleasure to dine here during Jefferson's time.


This is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I know it's a bit small and maybe a little too chilly in winter, but it just seems like such a pleasant spot to talk with friends and family over a little something to eat and drink. And who wouldn't want to chat with those "illustrious" men looking on?


I like this image of the Tea Room for its simplicity. Along with the Greenhouse on the opposite end of the house, the Tea Room is my favorite space inside Monticello. Unfortunately,because of the demands of visitation, we have never really shown it properly. We use the Tea Room as the place to show dining because, for security and space reasons, we don't want a dining table set in the middle of the Dining Room. In reality, the Tea Room was a space for sitting, even lounging, for conversation, and yes, drinking tea. Cornelia Randolph tells us there were 2 sofas, 2 tables, and a stove (for heating the room in winter). With the large amount of window glass and the triple sash window opening onto the North Terrace, it must have been an extremely pleasant place in nice weather.

Add comment

Login to post comments