We all remember Charlotte Sophia, queen consort of George III … well, I expect we do. Each time I speak the name, Charlottesville, Virginia, I remember the comely young queen. Too, each time I speak, “Virginia”, I remember the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, as, I expect, do you. Yes: Elizabeth, the virgin mother who peopled this land, “Virginia”, with us. From her, all we find around; from her, the oldest place-name upon the continent, place-name of our language, English, name of the first of us born upon the land to which we have become native, Virginia Dare (b. 1587*), daughter of Elenora and Ananias, lost, folded into our earth, perhaps, into our people.
Perhaps you know: among the earliest maps of Virginia, a map titled, “Eden in Virginia”, picturing little grid-like towns that hoped someday to become real. Imagine: a land named for our tutelary mother, the “Virgin Queen”, picturing an “Eden” of little grid-like towns in the style of the “Greek” architect, Hippodamus, a style favored, a style proliferated by “Alexander the Great” for his many colonies, his many “Alexandrias”.
No, of course, this Alexandria, Alexandria Virginia, is not an Alexander colony, it is instead the town founded by Scottish Lords, the “Alexanders”, who remembered and honored the Great Alexander in their name, and in their town, Alexandria … the town from which I compose this note. Here, a few blocks from Geo. Washington’s townhouse … of course you know Washington, The District of Columbia, named for G.W. … and we could go on, and on, et cetera.
Yet, to the purpose…
We each in names remember who, remember what we are. I am Michael, of Saint Michael, and other names besides: Who, I wonder, are you. Charlotte was a quaintly educated, prolific mother (15 children) who cared for her husband George (the king) in his dotage. Then too, you might like to know: when young, at the naming of Charlottesville (1762), Charlotte was pretty, hopeful, with little interest in politics or party intrigue; she was easy, friendly, though shy, most comfortable with family nearby.
As well you know: The name “Charlottesville” conjures numerous ideas, lovely images, high aspirations, “queenly” you might say, though we have not been English, children of the royal prerogative, these two-hundred-forty-five years. We might conjure The University of Virginia, the mascot Cavaliers, Jefferson’s Academical Village, Jefferson’s Monticello, Jefferson’s declaration of our independence, the beautiful, summoning statue of Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea, now being progressively erased from Charlottesville, from memory.
Yes, Charlottesville, engaging ideas, lovely images, most every image picturing something of the great Thomas Jefferson … high aspirations in fact, high accomplishments in deed. Likely, you know that in 1768, shovels were first footed into ground that would become the villa, Monticello, that great house, home of the great man, an original conception, not unlike the original conception of his Declaration of Independence from our mother-country, England (1776).
Yes, mothers and fathers … we all are borne of mothers and fathers: Elizabeth and Sophia, George and Thomas, each after their nature, into ours. Thomas Jefferson, founding father, Englishman, was born in English Virginia, a man who by genius, by personal will became a new thing, in a new place, an American of The United States of America. We all by history are bourn into who we are; by choice, by will, perhaps by providence, we become what we shall be. Thomas Jefferson became governor, president of these united states (1801 – 1809), founder of a university, philosopher of the antique type, architect of a style new upon the earth, the Jeffersonian.
The September, 2021 issue of The Beautiful Home shall enjoy a consideration of Thomas Jefferson, the Jeffersonian, that Federal style borne of the Roman Doric, of the harmonic Enlightenment best expressed in his home, Monticello. We shall visit Monticello, its steps, its views, its way of living, a living mirrored in Charlottesville, that lovely, quiet, intelligent city of the Tidewater, of the University of Virginia, of the Cavaliers of King Charles and of the university, of bars, of restaurants, of fine accommodations, among which, Clifton, the Country Inn (where your author contributed some few architectural touches to this property of Thomas Mann Randolph, son-in-law to Thos. Jefferson).
Each month, The Beautiful Home will be published twice. Volume I, Issue 1, Part A, will be published September 1, and will include:
“The Timepieces of Thomas Jefferson: A Founding Father’s Fascination with Horology”, by Eric Wind & Charlie Dunne; “Jefferson’s Academical Village: The University of Virginia and the Rhythm of Life”, by Dr. Nir Buras; articles on the “Jefferson Nickle”, on “Charlottesville”, on architects, on curiosities of the bedroom, and a bit about The Beautiful Home’s television program pilot, “Home: A History”, by the programs producer, Thomas Bloom. In brief, you will find an offering of something for almost everyone, and more, in the second part of the Jeffersonian Issue, to be published, September 15:
Jefferson the poet, Jefferson’s private rooms, penmanship (the Virginia script’s Big Round Hand), a consideration of Renaissance men (Alberti, Leonardo, et alia), something of Palladio, and, perhaps, some bit of correction to the revision of history of Thos. Jefferson’s biography, et cetera.
Hope you subscribe, gratis, below … The Beautiful Home team will conspire to amuse and to entertain, to inform and to delight, for your emolument. For each, a wish for the best of everything; for BB, her cheer: “Tommy, Tommy, he’s my man / if he can’t do it, no one can!”
Right! For reading ease of the ezine, each article’s title will be accompanied by the first line, identifying tags, and most helpful, word-count with estimated reading time, so that you will know what you are getting into, before the getting into gets in to you, “Liberty of choice.” you might say. The American way of Liberty, freedom to pursue health, wealth, excellence, as defined by Jefferson in his Second Inaugural Address:
“…a wise & frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, & shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government; & this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
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Note *: Virginia Dare, born, 1587, threeish years before William Shakespeare composed his first play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, circa 1589–1591.
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Featured image: Queen Charlotte in Robes of State, by Joshua Reynolds, 1779. credit: National Trust, Hatchlands