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Monticello South Square Room

South Square Room

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

Order: Tuscan

Source: Palladio

Color: Currently, blue; recent investigations show multiple layers of paint, including true fresco with pigment mixed into wet plaster.

Purpose of Room: Originally part of Jefferson’s private suite and called the Book Room, much of his private library of books was shelved here until their sale to Congress in 1815. By 1817 it had become Martha Jefferson Randolph's sitting room, where she sewed, taught her children, met with visitors, and directed the work of the enslaved domestic workers.

Unusual features: Rumford fireplace altered by Jefferson to burn – in a more efficient manner – wood instead of coal.

Furnishings of note: Tables and chairs for reading, writing, and sewing, including a sewing table made in the Monticello Joiners’ Shop and attributed to John Hemmings. Bookboxes fill the alcove as they did when Martha used this room. Today, a portrait of Martha Jefferson Randolph, painted by James Westhall Ford, hangs in a place of honor. Silhouettes of family members and popular engravings hang on the walls.

Objects on Display in this Room

Related Links:
John Hemmings
Overview of Mulberry Row
Available in Our Online Shop


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