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Wilton

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1750–1753, attributed to Richard Taliaferro. 1933–1935, reconstruction, Claiborne and Taylor. 215 S. Wilton Rd. Open to the public
  • Wilton
  • Wilton
  • Wilton
  • Wilton
  • Wilton
  • Wilton

Originally built for William Randolph III on a riverside site fifteen miles away in eastern Henrico County, Wilton was one of the last of the great James River plantation houses. The house stood derelict for many years, until the 1930s, when it was threatened by demolition and the piecemeal sale of its fine paneled interior. Instead, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America purchased Wilton, reassembled it on its present site overlooking the James River west of Richmond, and made it into a showplace of Georgian architecture and the decorative arts.

The plan is a straightforward central hall with rooms to either side. In contrast to the austere Georgian facade of the house, the interior decoration is astonishing. The entire interior, including the closets, is paneled from floor to ceiling. At the summit of the hierarchy of the interior decoration is the parlor. Here, rich carvings, arched recesses, and denticulated cornices complement the marble mantelpiece and display the art of colonial wood crafting. Wilton docents claim the parlor to be one of the most beautiful rooms in America. Other rooms display the same high level of craftsmanship. The furnishings, while not original, are excellent examples of colonial and in particular Virginia decorative arts of the period.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Richard Guy Wilson et al.
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Citation

Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Wilton", [Richmond, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-01-RI338.

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 277-278.

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