MONTICELLO by Leonard Everett Fisher


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A handsomely produced history of the house that Jefferson spent a lifetime working on in his spare time, with current and historical black-and-white photos augmented by Fisher's scratchboard diagrams of some of Jefferson's unique inventions. Most interesting here is the way this unique structure fits into architectural history: Fisher explains that Jefferson had access to the designs of Palladio, Inigo Jones, and Wren and yet (as was usual in 18th-century America) created his own design; and comments on Monticello's architectural influence on later public buildings. Unfortunately, Fisher doesn't give many of the details of building, either of construction or of the laborers and craftsmen employed over the years--who they were, either specifically or in society; it almost seems as though he is evading the question of slave labor. Instead, he outlines Jefferson's life (information easily obtained elsewhere), interpolating the progress of the building, and concludes with a summary of the years of neglect after Jefferson's death and the restoration during the last 60 years. An uneven effort, of value for its photos and as a chronology. Floor plan, index.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1988
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Holiday House