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North Square Room

North Square Room

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Dimensions: 14' 10" × 15' 4"; ceiling 10' 0"

Order: Tuscan

Source: Palladio, based on the Arena of Verona

Color: Originally yellow, then wall-papered; today shown as unpainted plaster

Purpose of Room: Bedroom, used frequently by the Portuguese scholar Abbé José Correia da Serra

Architectural Features: Alcove bed with a closet overhead; interior window shutters, used throughout the first floor for privacy and insulation

Furnishings of Note: Today the room holds a life portrait of the Abbé by Rembrandt Peale as well as a portrait of Martha Jefferson Randolph by Thomas Sully.

The damask drapery curtains and bedspread are reproductions meant to represent the blue damask that Thomas Jefferson acquired while living in Paris in the 1780s. According to Jefferson's memorandum book entries and the Grevin packing list, he purchased large quantities of crimson and "bleu" silk damask for curtains between 1784 and 1789 and shipped them to America in 1790.1 The different suites of French curtains were probably used first in the public rooms of Monticello and in Jefferson's Bedchamber. Later, as Jefferson obtained new curtains for those rooms (such as Parlor draperies from John Rea in 1808 and dimity for the Dining Room, ca. 1803), the older yet still valuable damasks were probably cut and fitted for use in other rooms.

Objects on Display in This Room

  • 1. See, e.g., MB, 1:578. For Jefferson's shipments, see Grevin packing list, July 17, 1790, William Short Papers, Library of Congress. See also the editorial note following Short to Jefferson, November 7, 1790, in PTJ, 18:36n. Editorial note available at Founders Online.
Related Links:
Textile Shop
Monticello Explorer

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