< Back

Recreating George and Martha Washington's Front Parlor

Join us for our annual lecture series. March features Adam Erby, Curator at Mount Vernon.

Interpreting the Evidence: Recreating George and Martha Washington’s Front Parlor Utilizing Account Books, Inventories, and Fragmentary Objects

In September 2013, Mount Vernon curators made an exciting discovery; a previously unknown ledger kept by George Washington’s friend and neighbor, George William Fairfax, appeared at auction. At first glance, the ledger seemed to have little to do with Mount Vernon, but as curators mined the document they discovered that much of the London-made furniture listed in the ledger came to Mount Vernon, either by purchase or gift, when its original owner returned to England at the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Adam Erby’s lecture will trace the fascinating tale of these furnishings from the London warerooms of William Gomm and Son to the grand, but now lost, Virginia plantation of George William Fairfax and his wife Sally, and finally to the principal rooms at Mount Vernon. The talk will demonstrate that as these furnishings moved from place to place through retail purchase, auction and gift, they served as a powerful means of establishing Fairfax, and later Washington, as a sophisticated grandee on the edges of empire.The lecture will focus on the most important find from the ledger, the rediscovery of the furnishings of Mount Vernon’s front parlor.

Recreating George and Martha Washington's Front Parlor