Analysis of Historic Paints on Woodwork at Andalusia Mansion - Understanding the Period of Benjamin Latrobe and Thomas Walter
Historic Preservation and Conservation
This study of architectural finishes is intended to substantiate evidence of physical and material changes to the building by way of paint evidence. It augments existing research, including the recently published 2014 Andalusia Big House Historic Structure Report and the 2014 report on the doors styles of the house by students in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, both of which raised questions concerning the evolution and changes in appearance of the building. With the intention of shedding light on changes to the door arrangement, this study specifically examines and compares finishes in the central core of the house, which represents all three important building campaigns: the original 1797 Craig farm house, the 1808 Federal style addition by Benjamin Latrobe, and the 1835 Greek Revival addition by Thomas Walter. Methods of analysis were limited to microscopic methods, including examination of paint cross-sections under both visible light and ultraviolet light, micro chemical spot testing, and polarized light microscopy. Because of extensive paint removal on the doors within the past 30 years, the author was not able to establish changes the doors. However, traces of historic finishes on the doors, the door surroundings and staircase will benefit future researchers in building upon this initial effort at finishes analysis at Andalusia.