George Wythe House

Richard Taliaferro?
c. 1750



This Georgian house, most likely designed by his father-in-law, Richard Taliaferro, was built for George Wythe, Williamsburg's burgess, a leading intellectual, signer of the Declaration of Independence, instructor of Thomas Jefferson, and law professor at the College of William and Mary. Phillip Kopper explains that the building "displays a stately symmetry based on simple geometry and the repetition of plane dimensions. The facade is as wide as the chimneys are tall. The height of the roof equals the distance from the centerpoint at ground level to each cornice. The height of the roof edge above the water table is the same as the depth of the house. Below the roof, the facade is twice as high--a double square, one of the tidy forms based on neat ratios that Georgian builders favored" (89).
Balanced geometries are even seen in the plan. A double door opens into a central hall with a stairway and with another double door at the garden or rear entrance. There are four rooms on the first floor.


Worked Cited:
Philip Kopper. Colonial Williamsburg. New York: Abrams, 1986.

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