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Gore Place

Gore Place

Photo Courtesy of Gore Place

Gore Place was built in 1806 and served as a summer home for Senator and Governor Christopher Gore and his wife Rebecca until 1816 when the Gores returned from Washington to live in Waltham year-round. While traveling abroad in 1799 the Gores had visited many country homes in England and traveled through France, Belgium, and Holland. It is not surprising that when they heard that their present house had burned they decided that the new house should be fashioned after the English and French buildings Rebecca most admired. A Parisian architect, Jacques-Guillaume Legrand, is said to have assisted Mrs. Gore and drawn up the final plans for what is today known as the premier Federal style home in the northeast United States.

The Great Hall

While restoration and repair work on the mantels in the Great Hall at Gore Place was being done, a marvelous discovery was made. Fragments of wallpaper at the level of the chair rail and other pieces on the wall surface were uncovered. In the archives was another piece of evidence that had been somewhat ignored since it was thought to be too new. It was a photograph from 1909 showing The Great Hall as it had appeared in the late Victorian era with a rather plain paneling treatment and border at the top of the room.

Great Hall circa 1900

Photo Courtesy of Gore Place

The curator and staff launched a research effort to try to put the pieces together and restore the Great Hall to Rebecca Gore’s original interior design. Using the fragments as a guide, research was done in England and France to try and match the paper used in the Great Hall. While another colorway of part of the three wallpaper suite was discovered in an archive in France, it was determined that the only existing evidence of the bottom border had been found at Gore Place.

Fronds and Drapery Suite

It was at this time that Gore Place hired Laura Mc Coy Designs, Inc. to recreate and reproduce the wallpapers for the Great Hall. It was decided that the reproduction methods should be as authentic as possible for this important suite of papers. As a result of this decision the artwork was hand painted in gauche. The printing method was hand block printed in England and the paper was hand-joined just like the original done circa 1810.

Pompeii Medallion Border

Lotus Border Base with Original Fragments

While the work was being done on the suite of wallpapers LMD and Gore Place turned their attention to the border in the photograph. Computer enhancement of the ½ inch high area of the original photo was revealing interesting things. The style and motives appearing in the images directly correlated with French wallpaper borders typically used in rooms decorated circa 1810. Although it was impossible to find the original wallpaper, LMD worked to properly scale, research and recreate the frieze as it appears on the walls today. The period photograph was also used as a guide for the proper placement of the final beautiful version of the border so it would line up in the room exactly as Rebecca Gore had had it installed 200 years before.


Great Hall Detail

Photo Courtesy of Gore Place

Great Hall

Photo Courtesy of Gore Place

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