George Washington’s Mount Vernon
On the site of George Washington’s Mount Vernon stands the Mansion house built by George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, in 1734.
In 1754, George Washington took over the running of the house and gradually went about a number of architectural additions to the property over a 45 year period to create the Mount Vernon Mansion as can be seen today. George Washington personally advised on the design, construction, and decoration of the house.
In 1858 the house was saved from dilapidation by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for the sum of $200,000. By 1860 they took over operation of the estate.
Humphries Weaving have been involved in the restoration of furniture for two of the principle rooms in the Mansion at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Silk & Worsted Wool Upholstery for the Front Parlour
The Front Parlour was the most formal entertainment space in the Mansion featuring fine art, furnishings and architectural elements.
Working closely with Associate Curator, Adam Erby, Humphries Weaving were commissioned to weave silk and worsted wool damask for the upholstry of a sofa and eight “mah[ogan]y Marlborough stuff back chairs” or backed stools. The fabric was also used for two sets of curtains in the same room.
Although no longer surviving as originals, the furniture, dated 1763, was gifted to George Washington in 1774 from close friends George William & Sally Farifax of Belvoir Plantation. The furniture was the most expensive suite they owned but failed to sell at auction following their return to England and so was presented to George & Martha as a gift. The furniture was upholstered in a silk & worsted wool damask fabric in ‘Saxons Blue’ by upholsters William Gomm and Sons & Company.
The Saxons blue colouring is very striking and was produced from extensive research completed by Adam Erby and Mount Vernon. The initial investigation considered that the shade could be similar to Dumfries House or even Kedleston Hall, however evidence led to the colour seen on the furniture today.
The design used, known to Humphries Weaving as ‘Ayrshire Damask’, can also be found at Dumfries House in blue and yellow on Chippendale furniture as well as at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on the prized Dundas sofa.
Project References: 2979
Silk & Wool Upholstery for the New Room
So called the New Room as it was the final addition to the Masion house of Mount Vernon and is accessed through the Front Parlour . The room was also upheld as the most fashionable in the house. In 1981, the name ‘large dining room’ was adopted for the benefit of visitors to the house however it was changed back to ‘New Room’ in 2013.
Humphries Weaving were commissioned for the weaving of silk & wool damask in green for the upholstery of two dozen side chairs. The chairs are known to have come from Philadelphia cabinet marker and retailer John Aitken and were purchased as George Washington’s second term in presidential office was coming to an end.
Project References: 1756