Shutters Update April 29, 2009

The restoration crew has started to hang shutters on the exterior of the house.

Rear of the house, from the Architectural Record, Vol VI (July 1896-June 1897).

Rear of the house, from the Architectural Record, Vol VI (July 1896-June 1897).

The shutters are modern reproductions based on Madison-era shutters found in a barn here on the property. There were 31 shutters found in the barn, 12 for the second floor and 19 for the first. They retained their original paint coating, a green made from verdigris pigment, which is made from weathered copper. We’ve painted the reproduction shutters the same green, basing the coloring on research by Dr. Susan Buck (see this post for a picture of the process)

Most of the surviving shutters have standard, fixed-position slats, but two of them had moveable slats. These moveable shutters date to 1810-1812, and would have been mounted on the tall, triple-sash windows of the Drawing Room (M108).

extant shutter

These triple-sash windows open from the bottom in such a way that the windows could function as doors onto the back porch of the house. We think that the special shutters for these windows are the ones mentioned in a bill from James Dinsmore, Madison’s carpenter:

3 pair moveable venetian blinds @ 60 [shillings]

The “moveable venetian blinds” have slats which are mounted to two pieces of wood which have wavy edges. One piece of the wood, the one which would have been closest to the wall, is fixed, and the wavy edges allow the other piece to slide up and down. The slats themselves are attached with pegs, which allows them to shift as the moveable piece slides. The pictures below show new shutters waiting to be hung and the venetian blinds hung on the Drawing Room windows.


We will post an update with photographs once all the shutters are hung, for those of you unable to come and see them for yourselves.


3 Responses to Shutters Update April 29, 2009

  1. Mike Turner (volunteer) says:

    Cool beans!

  2. Lou Potter says:

    This is amazing detective work! Good show! Thanks so much for your persistent attention to accurate details.

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