tv Presidential Homes in the South CSPAN August 11, 2022 11:17pm-12:39am EDT
i want to thank you all for coming to the hermitage this evening and want to welcome you i'm howard cattell and i have the privilege of being the president and ceo of the andrew jackson foundation. and we're so happy to have you here tonight for our third history and quirked series our third of our series tonight. let me put it that way. better look at my notes. these informal events these
informal events are intended to offer you glimpses of united states history. as it relates to andrew jackson's america. and enjoy some excellent natchez hill wine, which i see you all are taking advantage of as i say. with increasing frequency history always goes better with alcohol, especially his history as we with it today. so november 2001 marks? 2021 marks the bicentennial of when andrew and rachel jackson and their son andrew jackson jr. moved into their new newly constructed home here at the hermitage. while significantly more modest the dimension you will visit today. it was a substantial upgrade from the two-story log farmhouse. they had lived in for the prior 17 years. but the question is why did the
jacksons choose to construct this particular type of house beyond the functional considerations? what did it symbolize to them? how did it position them in the community? and how did it express the family's aspirations? tonight we're honored to have dr. kevin murphy. as this evening speaker, dr. murphy is the andrew w mellon. chair in humanities and professor and chair of the department of history of art and architecture at vanderbilt university. he will explore for us the history of early presidential plantation homes what these building symbolized to their owners and to their constituents and what do they mean to us today? dr. murphy grew up in the boston, massachusetts area he holds master heals and undergraduate degree from swarthmore college. a master's in historic preservation from boston
university and his phd is from the university of chicago in art architecture and preservation. his areas a particular interest are 19th century french architecture american architecture and the meanings of these various styles in the when they were popular. dr. murphy credits growing up around so many historic buildings in the northeast with stimulating his interest in architectural history and historic preservation. he calls old hickory village just up the road from here home. following dr. murphy's presentation. there will be a time for questions and answers. if you would like to ask question, please step to them to the mic here in the middle of the room because we're honored to have c-span here tonight filming. this evenings event and please silence your cell phone, so you're not recorded and broadcast across america and a few weeks. so now please join with me and
welcoming dr. kevin murphy to the to the platform. thank you howard for that very generous introduction. and normally i wouldn't you know, making a editorial comments about the introduction except. that you credit credited by phd to the university of chicago. it was actually from northwestern at since. we're such rivals, you know hyde park versus evanston. i feel like i have to say in fact, i was on the north side not in hyde park whereby brother was a grad student at the same time when i was but anyway, but i'm really happy to be here at the hermitage as you said, i'm really a neighbor up the street in old hickory village and have visited the hermitage.
before but i really i don't think of myself as an expert of the hermitage i've written more about. other presidential houses, so really going to focus on those they're earlier examples, but i feel like they give you some background some ways of thinking about the building which is in our backyard here. so let me begin i'm told that the response time of the clicker is very slow. there we go. okay. so i begin here with a group of four buildings all of them associated with. us presidents so we have monticello which you know mount vernon the home of george
washington montpelier also in virginia, and then of course finally the hermitage so what do they have in common? well a lot of them are brick of course being in virginia. that's a common thing. they are all the residences of us presidents. they all are neoclassical. in the sense that they all look back to traditions of ancient greece and ancient rome and build upon the interpretations of those traditions that had been made over subsequent centuries. and they're all plantations where the enslaved population far outnumbered the population of free white people living in these places that any one time. so what i want to do was to connect two things.
one that kind of paradoxical fact that these are plantations but also the homes of some of the greatest spokesmen for you know, political freedom religious freedom that we have in our history and at the same time. i also want to address the fact that they only refer to certain architectural traditions in very different specific ways, and i want to think about what you know classesism does for the understanding of these plantations. so the other the other thing that these gentlemen had in common besides their political and social positions was that they were obsessive builders, especially washington and
jefferson whose houses were in the process of being renovated for decades, especially jefferson was like obsessed with building and it was interested in architecture was really the deepest of any of these men. he is, you know famous for having always been living in a construction site. however, washington too who's not so much invested in architecture did not think of himself as an architect in the way that will see jefferson did. still was deeply concerned with the design of his house. and with its furnishings and in fact, basically bankrupted himself ordering incredibly expensive building materials and furnishings from abroad. you know, they're just arrived in a huge numbers out at mount
vernon and culminated in this building. but the introduction howard referred to the log cabin that the jacksons have lived in well that log cabin would have been typical of the way that most people lived in the 18th century all but a tiny. infinitesible fraction of people lived in houses that were one or two rooms that were made out of wood that did not have foundations. so they were earth-fast houses. and so most of them have disappeared so what we are left with is a very unrepresentative sampling of 18th century houses in which something like about vernon would have just been unspeakably huge. i mean it would have been like, you know, ten mcmansions today because it was just so elaborate
and so lavish in the context of the way most people lived. now i want to say something a little bit about but about about where design comes from. but i also want you to notice. a couple of kind of bizarre things about it. i'm hoping this is going to turn into a pointer. yes, it did. perfect. so you notice that? who are the facade you have this? kind of floating gable there's three this triangular kind of pediment here, which does not line up perfectly with either the windows or the doors in the first two stories, which is a very unclassical thing to have happen, you know, if you're a strict class assistant you want you would want the door to be centered under the gable to have
the windows spaced evenly on other side and to have the cupola line up perfectly with the peppermint. but of course because the house was built in stages that wasn't possible. so washington built the house over the course of time and that's why it has a somewhat idiosyncratic arrangement of the facade. which was commented upon at the time that there was something a little bit off about the way that the elements were. thank you so much were of distributed across the facade. i'm going to be very careful here. now, so that's that's one thing. there's an aspiration to a classicism that's not totally realized because of the way that the building project unfolded. which is of course how most building projects unfold which is over the course of time now the other thing i want you to want to show you is this cupola.
on the roof, which is a very undomestic feature. it's not something that was typically found on houses and it tells us that. washington's aspiration was to make a residence. but a residents that also had a public aspect to it. it was supposed to be more than just a house was supposed to be the house somebody of some importance. oops, and hopefully yep. there we go. okay, so the other place where it would have appeared. is in this building the governor's palace? at williamsburg colonial capital, which of course washington would have known. where the the this cupola signaled the presence of an important residents president, so wasn't just a house. it was the governor's palace and
so he seems to echo this echo that feature in the design of this house. but in other respects, he really is placing some distance between himself. and this colonial monument, which is something that jefferson who was educated in williamsburg also did they were attempting to establish a language for american architecture. that was neoclassical it drew uncertain british examples, but it was really trying to create a distance. from the colonial architecture of that pre-revolutionary period so you have here that the use of this prominent brick. course those of you who know virginia know that the soil is all red clay. it's really easy to make brick
there. it's used. very extensively, but it's also a material that's very familiar to british people. it's the material of london for example, and of other british settlements, so and that material and the style becomes very with the colonial period so one of the things i want to emphasize is this idea of difference and distinction of using architecture to separate yourself to connect but simultaneously separate yourself. from the past as you know, mount vernon is one of the iconic houses at the us along with of course a monticello and one of the reasons that becomes iconic, is that because is because it's so different.
from other houses because of the fact. thanks again that it has that cupola on the on the land side when i would call the land side and then it has this. portico on the riverside on the potomac side which has become so very very well known side of the building and i think if you look behind you there at the hermitage, i think that that colonnade or that screen of collabs really refers back to mount vernon, which became so unbelievably famous particularly after washington's death right around 1800 when this became really pilgrimage destination for thousands of people. i'll say more about that.
so on the water side you saw you would see. and if you ride by the by way of the potomac which many people did you and you probably know the side of mount vernon which is way above the river. it's very prominent you would have seen the cupola and you would have seen. this long porch or piazza tears the italian word, which again was a completely unfamiliar feature. which would have suggested that this isn't just any old house it is the house of somebody who is important. and somebody who is creative. somebody who has a very specific idea. of what they want their house to look like? and i think that is really significant. this is in a painting from the probably the early 19th century.
here's the plan of mount vernon you have on this side. here's the piazza and you see all the columns observes a little bit blurry. here's the plan of the house itself. what you see here in elevation and then on either side, this is the interesting part you have these curved. walkways that then connect to outbuilding is one of which is a kitchen. here to on either side, so what is trying to create is a symmetrical or balanced composition of parts of the house? so you have at the center of the main residence and then at either side absolutely identical mirror image connections to
these service buildings now at the center you can see that it's basically what we call a georgian plan, which is a house plan in which you have a center hole and you know, we still build these today. it's very familiar a through-hold that goes from the you know land or driveway side over here straight through the house. opens out onto the piazza beyond it and then you would have the view of the river there beyond the house and then two rooms on either side with the chimneys here and here fireplaces and all the major rooms again. all of this is typical. and then you have on the ends. rooms that were added by washington to that central core this one at the end. he referred to as the new room.
it was always still called that it was in addition that extended that central core of the house which was fairly conventional on plan. so it got bigger now. the idea of having the various functions of a big fancy plantation house separated into pieces that are connected in artistic ways to one another is something that comes from the italian renaissance. or contact in whom both washington and jefferson especially were very very interested. and jefferson referred to the books of palladio, which were really well known as the bible because that was his the ultimate source for his knowledge of the classical
tradition was through this man, andrea, palladio whose famous. he's shown here whole day four books of architecture republic during his lifetime and that constantly republished through the 18th century. they existed in english translations published a great britain and jefferson then had them in the us jefferson knew had one of the largest architectural libraries in north america, so palladio is so influential that he starts a whole school of architecture. not a literal institution, but it kind of style of design that first had an impact in britain and then in north america among your especially among wealthy educated builders like washington and jefferson. so the idea was that and you see
it representative there in the right hand side in one of the great houses in the veneto in italy by palladio the villa barbaro from around 1550. the idea was not to try to pack all the functions of a big, you know farmhouse in this case into one building, but rather to separate them in into smaller buildings that would then be connected in a kind of artistic way. so on the right hand side there. i'm going to do this. really generally you see there's the main house. connected with thee to these subsidiary buildings by these kind of walkways. of course, it's italy so the idea of the open logia or porches, very important and then the main house at the center. what does that look like?
probably a little socratic here. what is he referred to here? where does it make you take off? yes. time. yeah, right. so it's a it's like a or a roman temple. so it takes that real the idea of a religious building and then he makes that the source for the actual house the residents at the center. so here you see that central block. and then it has walkways and other side and then these kind of subsidiary buildings. so the idea of separate the different parts of complex is very important. and for example at mount airy in virginia from the mid 18th century we have this plantation house. very polluted and inspiration very classical central building and then you see these kind of
curving walkways. this is what washington is thinking about too to these outbuildings here and here you could see in the plan here there. it's two rooms with these big fireplaces, which means that these are this is probably a kitchen building so you get you know, it's virginia's super hot like it is here. you want the kitchen building away from the main house the heat away from the main house and then building this could have been for offices. they have these kind of corner fireplaces and stairway. so the parts of the complex are beautifully balanced. everything is symmetrical you could draw a straight line. through the center of this main house and the two sides of the complex are mirror images of one another and that classical symmetry is modeled on what claudio had done in his a series
of great villas in italy that many of which you could still go visit today. these were famous because not only were they thought to be very classical and accomplished in terms of designs, but plaudia also had as his clients. wealthy basically farmers people who live by agriculture, but they were very well educated. they were liberally educated sophisticated. clients and therefore the style is associated with a kind of style of living in the countryside living off agriculture. but not just being he'll kind of pumpkin hacy former guy, but being also somebody who's very sophisticated and learned and expressing that. in the architecture that you
cause to be built and so that's kind of what these were not kind of it's not kind of what they're thinking of it is what they're thinking of very sophisticated. sort of person living off of agriculture here a couple of views and here you see that curved walkway now one thing when issue for these ambitious builders in early america was that there was not here the sophistication in terms of building its stone which was much less common in the 18th and in the 17th centuries then building in wood and so when it came time to model and architecture that had been pioneered in stone going all the way back to ancient greece and rome. it was a challenge for crafts people here in the us or in the
colonies so often what was done was to use wood this more prevalent building material and then to make it look like stone. so in the case of mount vernon, it's built out of wood, but you just get eclipse of this here the wood is flat boards that are then scored in order to make them cast the shadows between them and to give them their appearance of blocks of stone and then the surface of that would is sanded. it's painted with a a paint that sand mixed up in it. to give it the texture of quarried stone. so what they're trying to do is to give the impression of this very monumental masonry building in the neoclassical mode. but to work with the conditions at hand to use materials that are familiar.
hmm in mount vernon and in monticello, there is an explicit connection made to the can atlantic era of revolution the so-called age of revolution in the 18th century. in which washington and jefferson were both major players not just in the they were not just important to the us. but they were important to the revolutions in europe particularly the french revolution as well as to the revolutions in the caribbean in the early 19th century. as models so and they represent.
there's into the international sphere. of their connections not just in the architecture which looks back to british and european developments but also in the objects which they bring into these spaces that i think are fascinating because they make them into places where the history of the early us in international context is representative and one of the great objects that mount vernon is this thing that i've written about a little bit so i'm kind of fascinated by it's the key. to the bastille prison the demolition of which was ordered by general lafayette about whom
a more i'll say more in a minute. who said it to washington to whom he was very very close. with this met with this message. give me leave my dear general to present with you with a picture of the bestie just as it looked a few days after i had ordered its demolition. so, you know the stormy of the best years. the bestie prison is a symbolic beginning of the french revolution in 1789 and after that point lafayette as the head of the national guard orders the demolition of what remains of it. with the main key of that fortress of despotism it is a tribute which i owe as a son to my adoptive father. as an aid to camp to my general
as a missionary of liberty. to its patriarch so of lafayette was a wealthy french nobleman. he used his family fortune to equip a ship. with materials that would support the american revolution sailed to the us and became an a decamp to george washington and then became a little kind of lifelong friend of washington's and so then he sends this. this key to the bastille is a symbol. to washington along with this as i said with this image of the best tree as it before its demolition. the key then was displayed in philadelphia in washington state dining room and then later exhibited in the hall at mount
vernon where lafayette saw it during his famous. farewell trip to the us in 182480-25 where he was heralded as a hero of two worlds of both the french and the american revolution at belle vernon lafayette visits the tomb of washington was that which was actually built on the grounds of his estate quite close to the house. because personal secretary he was a man named lava, sir. said love it descended alone in the vault. and a few minutes thereafter reappeared with his eyes overflowing with tears. he took his son and me by the hand.
and let us into the tomb. we note referentially there's coffin. which we respective respectfully saluted with our lips. rising with mingled our tears with his so when lafayette makes this trip. to the us he takes a secretary with him. and the secretary writes every day. about what lafayette did over the course of a year and a half in which you went to basically every major city in what was then the united states? and then they would send these comments back to france and the republic there and they were published in the papers in the us, but it's important that he went to mount vernon because it reinforces the fact that by 1820s it's a shrine and more than that. so it's a shrine to washington,
but it's also a shrine to the idea of freedom, which i would suggest is some a paradoxical given that it's also a plantation house albeit the plantation of a man who freed his slaves in his will. so there's there's the tomb on the right hand side. as it existed in the 19th century and then a draw a kind of folk drawing of the landscape with the tomb are right here, which just shows you the absolutely, unbelievable amount of interest in mount vernon and you know, you know how many places in the us are named mount vernon, you know about for the new york, you know the lots of houses that are called memories it becomes just an absolute icon of washington the first president in the revolutionary general and it becomes this
extremely well known. place so here is a massive painting of mount vernon is really it might even be bigger than the size. it has on the screen here. i'm sorry. it's a little bit hard to say you see it on the trademark port. to see on the trademark porch washington and this is published well after his death. is based on a famous portrait of washington, which i'm sure you recognize which was the basis of his image on the us currency and then here on the left is lafayette and this is the meeting of the two men on the porch at mount vernon in 1784. so i've bought us to we have going on here. well interestingly you had the
two women in this group to the right or three. i think there's a girl child here and then to the left this very interesting vignette of the white child and the african-american child playing together over here and a vignette that has been thought of as a kind of paradoxical hard to understand image, but one that does remind us that the african-american residents of mount vernon for a numbered the white ones and it does kind of signal that diversity of people now once you turn your was i've wondered from my mark here, washington, of course keely interested in building his own house, but also keenly interested in the design of the
city of washington dc the district of columbia which was began to be constructed shortly after the establishment of the the united states. so you hear you see and there's very famous group portrait washington family. george here to the left here martha here to the right other members of the family are another side and you have at the center. the map of washington, dc the plan of the city that was devised by a french engineer by the name of loeful. and interestingly you have martha here referencing gesture
towards that plan of the city of washington. oops. okay. jefferson as president also keenly interested in developing the landscape and architectural language of the new united states. and in virginia he is responsible for the design of the capital. at richmond still survives, although expanded in the 19th and 20th century. so you see these. wings on either side and then on the right hand side. you have a painting from the 19th century which gives a better sense of what the original?
building looked like and if you think that this too looks like a temple there's a good reason for it. jefferson before serving his president was an envoyage of france lived in paris and while he was there. he commissioned a model. of this building on the left the nasal carey. which is a roman temple that was built in southern france. at the time that the roman empire was colonizing areas all around the mediterranean. and this temple jefferson thought of as a really perfect example. of a roman temple and of the use
of the corinthian order which is a style of classical architecture that uses these very elaborate collaborate capitals supported the entablature up above it. now it's based on the idea of a greek temple. of which we have a very good approximation in our parthenon here in nashville, which gives an excellent idea of what the parthenon increase in athens looks like so the roman idea of the temple built upon their idea that the greek temple with its surrounding. columns and then pushed outward with the walls. to expand the enclosed part of the temple so in a greek temple you at the columns typically running all the way around the enclosed part of the center was relatively small in the roman
temple of this example the walls push outward and they create a larger space and this type of temple then becomes the model for but jefferson designs as the capital of the state of virginia now. in his notes of the state of virginia jefferson wrote about how really deplorable and awful. he thought the colonial architecture of virginia and the united states was and his attempt was to elevate. the practice of architecture and particularly public architecture look it back to the classical tradition here. he does a very directly and you can see you don't need an architectural historian to tell you that he's looking very directly at the example of the maison, correct.
he's also looking at. this example this building which becomes a touchstone not only for him, but for other american and continental and british architects in the 18th century the pantheon at rome the roman temple which has this greek temple like facade that leads to this dramatic space. this domed rotunda building a room that circular and plan and then has this. concrete dome above it. roman concrete romans the pioneers of the use of concrete cast the dome with its oculus or central opening which yes is
open and yes rain does come to the building and have to get mopped up on the floor, but also light comes to the building and cast these beautiful. a light spots that move around the interior over the course of the day now jefferson was a huge admirer. of this building and one of the things that he admired was the way that if you imagined a kind of big basketball inside this space it kind of just fill it. it's as though a large sphere had the building erected around it and that gave it a kind of geometric purity that was admired by jefferson. now what he does, that's so. clever but not very orthodox. you could say it's clever or it's very weird and perverse.
i'd say it's clever. so this is a these are two section drawings or to slices. through the virginia state capitol a transverse section that goes across the short side and then one going through the long side. here's the porch. which looks out on the james river where richmond's located and then you see that you have basically a roman temple. and of the major type and then you have inside it this domed rotunda. and of course visit the idea of the dome rotunda is what's at the central the center of the conception of the us capitol. and of other state capitals as well. but what's the difference here?
if you think of the us capital what's different about this dome? friends, it's soaked inside the building so you don't see it. so from the outside jefferson maintains the purity of this idea of the roman meso carey temple, but he puts inside this dome to rotunda in this very interesting way there you see it again this section. there's the central space. where he has a really difficult problem because he he does not. have those curved walls that support the dome of the pantheon, but rather he sets the dome on a square. you know a square basically a square room. so you have the issue of how do you get from a square room to a
dome that has a circular base? and so you have to have these kind of weird? a triangular bits in between to make that structure anyway at the center is washington. in the sculpture by who don't of the the french sculptor they see him. in a stance that's meant to evoke. a roman statesman and the states is also one that's familiar to antiquity going all the way back to 80 degrees the so called contraposto pose the pose in which one leg holds the weight of the body. the other is at ease and bent here you see it in classical sculpture and the idea was that gives a kind of dynamism to the body because then the upper body
has to kind of adjust to that uneven distribution of weight. so that formula became very popular and antiquity for giving lifelightness to the human figure. it was then adapted in this. early 19th century sculpture of washington, which is of a contemporary figure but also again references the classical tradition. out there, jefferson, washington they'll both of these men. depended for all of their building and all their intellectual activity upon this trade with which you're familiar. which saw a manufacture goods being exported from great britain and then to africa and
elsewhere where slaves were then brought to the caribbean and ultimately to north america from where other goods were exported in this. very famous triangle trade, which the plantations of jefferson washington and others cannot be disassociated despite the fact that architecturally the references that they make are to this. classical tradition as filtered through palladio in the 16th century jefferson also referred to the classical tradition in his own design for his two monument, which you see here. which is an obelisk form that was devised first by the agent egyptians and then used again throughout antiquity.
where he wanted to be known for? his authoring of the declaration of american independence of the statue of virginia for religious freedom, and as father of the university of virginia those he saw as his major accomplishments to be inscribed on his monument and so he's really promoting his contributions to freedom. jefferson about loved biography here from monticello born in 1743 and early on. as a young man, he cleared the sight of 250 square feet at the top of a hill which he called monticello and that's where he lived for much of his life and
where he would go on to build over the course of a very long time. he referred to it as his. essay in architecture along with the land plantations not just monticello but others as well jefferson inherited slaves from his father and even more from his father-in-law. john wales, he also bought and sold enslaved people and in a typical year he owned. about 200 of them almost half of them under the age of 16. about 80 of the lived at monticello. so they far up numbered. the free people at monticello others lived elsewhere in albemarle county on his farms and at his estate and bedford county.
virginia which is south of monticello south of charlottesville where he also built a very beautiful house. i'm not going to talk about today. they were integral to what he did. to his making his living some of them worked in trades others in the fields some in the main house. many were members of the hemis family as as you probably some of the story. elizabeth hermitage said her children were part of the whales of state and tradition says that john wales the father of six. of having his children and thus they were half-brothers. to jefferson's wife, martha ah, jefferson gave the having special positions and the oldest slave jefferson jefferson freed and his lifetime and it is well, we're all hemmings.
giving credence to the oral history that they were related to him years after his wife debt wife's death jefferson father at least six of sally having his children four of whom survived to adopt and are mentioned. in jefferson's plantation records their daughter harriet and elder son. beverly were allowed to leave botticello during his lifetime in the youngest. two younger sons madison and esther were freed in his will others of the sons actually worked on poplar forests, which was built as a kind of retreat for jefferson and he would go down there while it was under construction and so he would have been there at the same time that these children of his were also there so while jefferson is building. this plantation operation he is also elaborated this
neoclassical monument at its center his main house which is an essay in architecture and particularly in the classical tradition. as his understanding of a change over the course of his life. and as his knowledge of contemporary group developments at great britain and in france changed. so the first design was this one? this two-story design, which we'll see in a moment was very much based on. palladio again, we thought of as the bible. benjamin henry latrobe who is possibly the first professional architect in the us who knew
jefferson said of him he's a good architect out of books. which are kind of -- with fame praise saying like is good, but you know, he was just using like this books of architecture, which is not entirely as fault because there was no school of architecture in that time. so and then you have the final design which is close to what exists today which is really interesting because as you can see it's been entirely transformed. from this earlier model and what he did principally was to really disguise the second story. it still is a two-story building. but he really suppresses the visibility of that second story. of course at the dome. that form that he was so enamored of so his first model
as i said was palladio and this is the villa. canaro. i just took one example, but you can see it has this true story portugal with the pediment up above. and that's very clearly what jefferson has in mind here? and then he goes to france. and while he's there he sees constructed. this building if you've been to paris. it still survives. it's a museum of the legion of honor and it's right next door to the musée d'orsay. so if you ever go there it's something to notice and she gave jefferson the idea of building a large house. so it's a hotel in the french sense of nana. no hotel that you check into and spend the night, but rather a large house. and so it gave him the idea of
building a large resonance. with a kind of dorm space at the center. and there's somewhat disguised second story. and this is what eventually develops. so here you have the the approach. to the main entrance and monticello like mount vernon mount vernon is a virtual pilgrimage saying even while jefferson is alive after finishes his presidency. he goes back to mount vernon. he lives there. he's referred to as the sage of monticello this incredibly important intellectual artists architect. and of course statesmen, when people just go there hoping to meet up with them. and where they would be so they
would wind their ways around the mountain. they would come up the main road. main pathways, they'd be met at this classical portugal which already would signal. this is an important house of somebody who is a lot of. aspirations and then if they were invited in they could move through it. through this space where there's a dome above. and then out to the lord, which is open to the west which is symbolic of jefferson's role in opening up the north american continent. as he frames that view very interestingly. with these walkways that make the whole complex into a kind of sea shape now. when he first started building up monticello when he was quite
young he starts out with the south pavilion, which is right here. this little tidy brick building where he and martha actually live. this is really a modest building. it survives as you can see they're later used as offices and so on. and then below ground and this is the key part. he creates his walkways and then below grade. you have all the service areas. where the work would be being carried out by primarily by enslaved labor. so he promotes the neoclassicism. of the main house he suppresses from you. the evidence of enslaved labor, which he may always would cut against the kind of enlightened. perspective on him that was
offered by the main house. there is i mean gorgeous setting so here it is the famous print from the 19th century. and you see how you just see the walkway, you don't see that work areas below it. figure story around there is a civil contemporary view. we see how it frames the prospect over the hills beyond. and here's the plan which was you know constantly big tickered with and revised over the course of jefferson's lifetime. here's the main part of the house and it'll make you think back to the plan of mount vernon was a central whole so much georgian in feeling. four rooms one of the other side chimneys pushed to the edges. but then what you have?
projecting outward or is service area? so this is the lower level and you can see there, you know series of rooms for different functions. that would be required for such a big plantation house. and you know, if you go visit you could still you can go see those and hear about the life of people on the plantation. here it is. at the irides that have more developed version the south terrace. at the upper level the south passage or think i had north and south of confused before here's the this is a south. pavilions here at jefferson's law office up to the right and then the servant spaces. down below and stables on the side and so on. so it's soap a palladium in the sense that the working.
parts of this complex are separated out. they're not all pushed into the same building. but rather expressed as different architectural forms. but we're but where you would enter you would not be the least aware of the work-taking place here instead. you would be realizing that you're entering through. this monumental particle into a grand space. that's invested in the history. of western culture and there of course it ends up on the coin. and again in the history of transatlantic circumatlantic revolution of the 18th century. this is what this space is where you would enter. and you would wait there to be received by jefferson or against tossed out if they didn't want to see you.
um and jefferson referred to it as the indian whole for the reason that it contained animal skins and other objects that were from native american peoples, but it also included classical sculpture. included busts of french philosophers who he thought were important to the conception of american democracy. and you see or you don't i'm sorry. it's hard to say. well, the one of the important things that have was a clock. and it shows that jefferson was living at the moment. we're keeping track of time. particularly the time invested in labor. became increasingly important. the rooting of labor really is a
phenomenon of the leading to the early 19th centuries as represented by jefferson clock which he invented and has is very complicated mechanism and so on. so it's really a kind of museum space. a museum of jefferson's investment in western culture and in democratic contemporary political events so i mentioned that one of the things he does in this reworking of monticello is to add a dome but the dome has really no function. and the dome room never actually had much of a function. a visitor in 1809 a friend of jeffersons barbara bayard smith says we looked into a beautiful and circular room in the dome.
is not actually circular but whatever it is 26 or 20 27 feet diameter has eight circular windows, which you see here. um, and it had some skylight it was designed for ladies drawing room when built but soon found on account of its situation in the dome to be too inconvenient for that use. it was abandoned to miscellaneous purposes. so as a room that was symbolically extremely important because it associated jefferson with wisdom with cultural traditions with the great monuments of the past. but it was essentially useless and you had to go up a kind of narrow staircase to get to. the ladies who are supposed to go up there and hangout apparently didn't like that idea. and then the one of the very odd things about it, is that if you open the doors on the side towards the law and will you
expect this commanding view in fact the pediment of the gable down below? is called sticky up in the doorway. so it's a not very well realized. design, however, it's extremely interesting in the way that it monumentalizes this plantation house and connects it with ideas of democracy and freedom somewhat paradoxically, i would say there's the the view from the portia monticello, which is the obviously this gorgeous commanding view over the landscape. and i end with this building which you will know probably far better than i do rebuilt in the 1830s. given this portico, which i think we can now see. as a continuation of a tradition
that goes all the way back to mount vernon, although i can't say that i know that they were thinking of that but i think that the portico was really pioneered at mount vernon. as a space that gives a commanding view. over a plantation in elevates the house to the status of something more than a residence. something that is a place that represents a politically extremely important feature play jackson. now in washington's in jefferson's time classical architecture had very specific meanings so for jefferson was really closely connected. to the french revolution and to the democratic he saw is going back to the roman republic.
by the time that this building gets built. or rebuilt not only or the sources slightly different. then the sources that jefferson and washington were looking at they are it is greek architecture. rather than plegian architecture or roman architecture and it takes on a whole new cast. because of the greek war from for independence which took pace beginning in the 1820s and which americans followed with great ability very closely. and for americans the greek war for independence. was a replay. of the american war for independence and they identified very closely.
with that cause and so in the 1820s and 1830s. when they used greek architecture, it was in part to signal that political allegiance to the cause of democracy. around the world particularly in the circumatlantic atlantic world but i also want to keep in mind that in many ways these buildings make paradoxical claims. because they make these claims of affiliation with democratic. in the context of a democracy that was extremely limited in who it and franchised as we know? and that movement to change that of course is ongoing and aspirations of these buildings and their builders, i think. or the things that we can really
hold as models. so sat there probably too long, and i'm i'm happy to take any questions. if i haven't warned you out already, which maybe the case. oh, yes. okay, like for you to comment a little about with jackson and jefferson, they had basically a blank canvas to build whatever they want. where washington. kind of stuck with the house right to them modify. yes. so he you know inherited the house. and therefore he did he had much more already built there that he was trying to adapt and that's why charming there's some on this about it that was even
noted at the time. why? because you know, it's classicism is quite imperfect and it's for that reason. i was working. he was trying to renovate rather than build from scratch. thank you great presentation. i'm curious early. in your presentation with one of slides you showed four properties properties referred to those as plantations. in today's society how do you see today and maybe looking forward securing these properties and the threats of these properties as we've seen other things threatened by what can you speak about the threats that you with the removal of history? are moving history into the basement of you know certain
properties but the actual properties today, how do you see that? that might be threatened in the future or concerns and is their historical i guess part b to that would be are there things from the past? we're still a young country. right, so if we look you know to europe over thousands of years of history, what can we learn from that? so the my work has also been on france and in france your famously in the french revolution. there was the wake of the revolution have moved to like destroy every building that had to do with the monarchy or with the church because both of those received as repressive institutions. they were both overthrown their abilities were all nationalized. and so there's this initial movement that that very quickly gets turned around and people start talking about it as von dalízma or vandalism is the way
we were translated, right? and certain people argue for the fact that although they are monuments to but they were called despotism. still they represent the ingenuity the creativity the hard work of the french people and so therefore and and artistic prowess. and so therefore they are deserving of being preserved. and so that there's a this effort then to stop the kind of demolition and the kind of fewer of wanting to get rid of the imagery from you know, a regime that seed is very repressive. so so that i mean that's an example i think right of of how there's a legitimate. oh. resentment of imagery of regimes
and of ideas that we don't accept any longer. but at the same time they also represent. the creative work of people whose voices we don't have right, so if for example, i recently wrote a book on the cathedral of notre dame after the fire. you know, there was a moment after the french revolution where people wanted to you know. destroy it basically because it was so relative of the mark here and of the church, which they didn't like anymore. and you know other people came forward and said no actually this this really represents. workers and we don't know anything about representative and documents. who and this is the only evidence we have the most similarly with monticello or with papa forest. the slave or you know our public buildings built by slaves will have records of them by large,
but we do have these buildings that represent their handsory work and so we can value them on that level. that said i don't think we want to. repress the feel of comfortable parts of the history and i think in this regard monticello has done an exemplary job as has montpelier of bringing to life. not just the great men who designed and owned these places, but also the enslaved people who worked there. so keeping it alive in fact both populations. and showing that i mean, this is kind of what i've tried to get out tonight. the the paradoxes of of the one hand highly ambitious. very sophisticated very erudite you know. inspiring in many ways
architectural projects that nonetheless rest on the labor of enslaved people. and i think that there's nothing wrong. i think there's everything right with understanding and looking at that paradox. squarely and places like this allow us to do that. so i don't see them as threatened. i see them as a really beautiful opportunity to talk about, you know, the simultaneous, you know existence. i mean, i think that's not only the case of the us. i think that's a case of you know, all of western history right the simultaneous. existence of great ambitions for equality and democracy and so on. and at the same time phenomena that cut against that that failed to bring about the complete realization. of those ambitions and i think that places like this can really
teach people. how those things existed of the same time and we don't have to get rid of them. we can use them as an opportunity to. to see both both sides of the coin, which is a good day because you know my shell of course other coin there. but yeah, that's very long. would it die of tribes or question, but i mean, it's really really important important point to bring up. again, thank you. i really enjoyed your presentation other historic homes the united states that you are favorites of yours. you think are very important to our history that you would suggest that we visit. in the in the us. yes. okay, so i'm from new orleans. so i'm totally prejudiced. for new england, so the may know the some of the residences that
are owned by historic new england, which is the regional preservation organism organization there and they own 18th century houses the big farm houses, but they also have a very wonderful modernist house from 1938, which is the gropius house designed by the emigrant architect walter gropius. when he arrived here in 1937. the another house i love is the molly brown house in denver. the stroke or a single molly brown which i think is one of the great house tours. i think i've ever been on the mark twain house in hartford is a really fantastic. crazy house, but also a wonderful tour. so those are kind of crime. i stayed have and then the it was a plantations in the southeast. you know in the low country,
south carolina and so on our other favorites of mine. so any comments about the madison plantation nearby and then i was up there recently working and got to visit all of them and the monroe. was interesting, you know, not as significant, i guess as these so monroe madison and then i was stunned at the ronald reagan airport defined in the old terminal the history of washington's son-in-law stepson who bought a mansion out the doors of ronald reagan that's now been restored a little scared to walk out there at night to see it. you know, it's just been the groundwork is laid and they had some architectural drawings but his son-in-law has spent way too much money in washington had to get involved in negotiating all
that thought was fascinating, but i didn't know if you had looked at that house in the what they're trying to do to restore it and how plantationists i think it was and compared to to mount vernon. for example yeah, i haven't been i haven't been there recently, so i haven't seen that but i will say madison's. madison's montpelier is a place where they really do a fantastic job of trying to interpret the diverse population that lived there. and so that you know, i was just in virginia last weekend and hearing you from my colleagues about that. about that site. how what a great job. they they have done there. so yes prepares another you know place of the ruthless really interesting history. you're going back to madison's time, but then there's an overlay of the duponts. i think who owns it at one point and so it is like weird trying century decorating it parts of it. so it's a it was interesting
interesting place. well if they're no other questions for dr. murphy, let's give him a rousing. thank you for this amazing time. thank you very much. i urge all of you to come back and tour the hermitage again because you'll now see it through the lens. the dr. murphy created for us this evening. so please come back and study the hermitage and stare at the way jefferson state stared at the maison, correct? thank and many
more at cspan.org/history. i am leslie greene bowman the president of the thomas jefferson foundation and it is my great and distinct pleasure to welcome you this evening as we celebrate the launch of gayle jessup white reclamation sally hemmings. thomas jefferson and a descendants search for her family's lasting legacy. and before we get started, i want to welcome a very special guest who's with here tonight. who's with us? we are greatly honored that the first lady of virginia. here tonight with us. thank you.