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Virtual tours of this room

Order: Tuscan

Source: Palladio  

Color: Green wallpaper and coordinating floral border paper based on historical evidenceCurrent wallpaper was derived from samples found in a grammar book used at Monticello in the early 19th century.

Purpose of Room: Study for reading, writing, correspondence, and scientific observation  

Unusual architectural features: Part of a "suite" of Jefferson's private rooms, along with the Book Room, later becoming the South square sitting room, Library, Greenhouse, and Bed Chamber; adjoins Jefferson's Bed Chamber via a passage and an alcove bed opening onto two rooms, but with a wallpapered folding screen affixed to the Cabinet side; plan based on an octagon, a favored architectural shape for Jefferson

Furnishings of note: Reading and writing arrangement, which included a revolving chair, a table with a revolving top, a revolving stand on a tripod base, and a polygraph copying machine; sofa used for reading and napping

Objects on Display in this Room

Primary Source References

[1800 November 25]. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[A catalog of books] is lying I believe either on the table in my book room, or under the window by the red couch in the Cabinet."1

1801 October 8. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[F]rom an actual survey of the plantation I occupy there (which you will see in one of the desk drawers in my study) ...."2

1801 December 4. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[I]t is in one of the volumes ... which you will find in the press on the right side of the cherry sash door in my cabinet."3

1806 January 31. (Jefferson to James Ogilvie). "[T]he arrangement begins behind the partition door leading out of the Book room into the Cabinet, & proceeds from left to right round the room; then entering the Cabinet it begins at the Eastern angle, & goes round that room."4

1808 October 4. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[B]ut I think it must be in one of the cartoons in the Cabinet window near which I usually sit to write, that is to say near the red turning chair."5

1809 August. (Margaret Bayard Smith). "His cabinet and chamber contained every convenience and comfort, but were plain. His bed is built in the wall which divides his chamber and cabinet."6

1819 July 28. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "[I]n my Cabinet, & in the window on the right of my writing table you will see 4. or 5. cartoons of papers. the 2d & 3d of these contain a compleat set of alphabeted papers ...."7

Further Sources

Related Links:
The Monticello Classroom
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