In Renowned rooms and gardens, we showcase historical homes, zooming in on a prominent room at each attraction. At George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia, we take a closer look at the New Room.
George Washington dubbed the largest room in his mansion the New Room, and the space has recently taken on a new appearance and interpretation.
“It is by any standard one of the great interior spaces of early America, beautifully decorated and furnished to display his vision for the new country,” says Susan Schoelwer, executive director for historic preservation and collections.
The New Room, once interpreted as the formal dining room, more clearly served as a show or statement room in the tradition of grand saloons in 18th-century British country houses. In Washington’s time, this multi-purpose space was permanently installed as an art gallery, as sunlight streaming through the beautiful Palladian window provided ideal lighting for viewing his art collection.
Those visiting the mansion today will find the walls are heavily adorned with artwork, hung in gallery style. With the dining room table now removed, the room allows visitors to better admire the grand architectural details and height, its neoclassical design finishes and the art on display.
Top photo by George Washington’s Mount Vernon