Grand Opening Count Down: 21 days
The painters have finished priming the South Passage and have moved onto the doors and cellar.
Jack Fisher is applying the linseed-oil top coat to the trim in the South Passage and has finished painting the Drawing Room.
Dr. Susan Buck has also hand-ground samples of the shutter paint based on her analysis of the paint from the surviving elements of Montpelier’s Madison-era shutters. The samples will be used to determine what color will be applied to the newly reconstructed shutters. Similarly, she ground test samples of paint based on an historic paint recipe for the fence that be reconstructed in the coming weeks.
Gene Lyman continues to install locks in the original and reconstructed doors.
Keith Forry continues to repair original Madison-era doors. Keith has also installed the eastern doors in M-109 (South Passage). Physical evidence has shown that these doors were held closed by a wooden bar secured by two wrought iron braces. The braces were designed based on outlines found on the original door frame and period precedent.
Mark Gooch continues to install the reconstructed window sashes. He has cast new lead weights in copper pipe for the reconstructed windows. Madison’s original window weights were cast iron, but by using lead Mark is able to produce a smaller, but heavier, weight. The sash cord that Mark is using (a six-strand hemp cord) exactly reproduces a sample of the original cord found supporting the single-hung side-lights that flank the mansion’s main entrance.
Blaise Gaston continues to make interior doors for the Mansion
M-108 (Drawing Room)
A majority of the reproductions of the Madison-era paintings were hung in the Drawing Room this week. These paintings were reproduced based on research by Dr. Lance Humphries, the staff at Montpelier and consulting curator Susan Borchardt. Traditional early-19th century hardware (brass rings hung from iron nails) is being used to hang the paintings and each painting is being hung from what is believed to be to the same nail holes used by Madison to hang the originals. In the above picture Grant Quertermous, Lance Humphrey and Bill Bichell unload the conjectural reproduction of the 7’ x 11’ Supper at Emmaus that is known to have been in the Drawing Room. Other works, such as the presidential portraits, are copies of works known to have been owned by Madison.
Mac Ward is installing the treads, risers and spandrels for the east stairs leading to the south wing.
The new gravel walks have all been installed. The walks are composed of a base of crushed stone topped with river washed gravel. To form a permanent surface the gravel is saturated twice with “Klingstone”, a polyurethane consolidant that binds the gravels together into one monolithic mass. The next step for the landscape restoration will be to lay sod in preparation for the grand opening.
Kevin Neito continues to work on a short, brick retaining wall that will adjoin the northeastern corner of the North Wing.
Bill Bichell has started to build the Colonnade’s southern steps.