A National Historic Landmark open to the public since 1912
The Parlor Project is in progress! Kate Shattuck has finished painting the woodwork according to the findings of the paint analysis done by Brian Powell, formerly of Building Conservation Associates, and Historic New England. We have been actively studying and researching throughout the process. Members of the committee, including Jane C. Nylander, Richard Nylander, Sherry Cullimore, Meredith Harding, Jennifer Evans, Barbara Ward, Gerald Ward, and Mary Waples, have closely inspected evidence for curtains and curtain hardware, and we are removing a core sample from one area to pinpoint how the paint evidence in the holes connects to the full stratigraphy.
Kate Shattuck has carefully removed layers of paint that obscured some of the carved details of the mantel surround, but we have left the full paint sequence in tact in most areas. The full beauty of the carving is now revealed!
The walls will be covered with red flocked wallpaper similar to that mentioned in a family reminiscence. The paper the committee has chosen is the surviving paper still on the walls of one front rooms of the John Wentworth House (built ca. 1760), now used as a conference room by Wentworth Senior Living, which owns the house. The blocks for the paper have been cut, and the colors selected, using evidence from the Wentworth wallpaper. The original vibrant colors of the paper are visible in small areas. The accompanying photo (below) shows the paper as it has darkened over the years, but the original vibrant colors of the paper are visible in small areas, and will be reproduced for the Moffatt-Ladd Parlor. The paper is being produced by Adelphi Paperhangings in Sharon Springs, New York, and will be ready for installation in the spring or summer of 2018.
There is still much more work to be done this winter. We are hoping to make a final determination on the floor treatment soon. Paint evidence suggests that the floor was originally unpainted. Because the floor has now been painted for more than 150 years, removing it presents a challenge. We know that we will be preserving sections of these paint layers, but how we will take the floor back to its original appearance is still under discussion. The early inventories show that there was a small "persia carpet" in the room in 1788 (from the designation in the inventory, we know that it was approximately 7-7 1/2 feet wide, and we believe the length was approximately 9 feet), and this will be an important feature of the room.
Barbara M. Ward, December 9, 2017
Flocked wallpaper from the Governor John Wentworth House, Portsmouth