Dining Room

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Dimensions: 18' 6" x 18' 0"; ceiling 17' 9" (shown from perspective of Tea Room)

Order: Doric

Source: Palladio

Color: Originally unpainted plaster, then yellow, then wall-papered; current blue paint dates from 1890

Purpose of Room: Dining area

Architectural features: Two sets of window sashes insulate room; double pocket doors on rollers separate the Dining Room from the western-most, and coldest, Tea Room; the Dining Room features one of Monticello's thirteen skylights; wine dumbwaiter on either side of fireplace brought wine up from cellar below; pivoting serving door with shelves enabled slaves to move dishes in and out of the room more easily and with fewer intrusions to diners; Wedgwood decoration on fireplace

Furnishings of Note: Several dining tables could be used or were folded against a wall when not needed. Dumbwaiters -- or shelved tables on casters -- were wheeled to the table, and guests then served themselves. The table featured French figurines and porcelain, English creamware, Chinese porcelain, glass serving pieces, and silver flatware, casseroles, and other tableware. Several silver and gold goblets and tumblers were made to Jefferson's design, as was a coffee urn. Jefferson kept books on the fireplace mantel which he read while waiting for diners to arrive at the table. One of the chairs shown in the room today is the last in which Jefferson sat -- after Jefferson's death his grandson-in-law Nicholas P. Trist carved the initials "TJ" into the chair's left arm.