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Hall

Place Made:
Somerset County Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
1700-1725
Accession Number:
0000.2
Description:
This room is from a one-room frame house with a brick gable end that once stood along Pocomoke Creek on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was probably built by William Powell, the second generation of that family to own the land. The Powells were successful middling planters who owned a few hundred acres and several slaves. Probate inventories suggest that they were in the top 25% of Somerset County by wealth.

In the middle of the 18th century the house was expanded to include a second room with another brick gable end. Access to the garret rooms above the two halves of the house was provided by a steep staircase incorporated into the brick gable end. When the house was expanded it was also updated: leaded glass casement windows were replaced by sash windows; a shelf was likely added to the mantle to provide a space to display ceramics and other worldly goods; and newly fashionable Prussian blue paint replaced the old Spanish brown paint.

When the room was installed at MESDA Frank Horton chose to interpret just the first-period on-room architecture while retaining the mid-eighteenth century mantle shelf and sash windows. Visual paint analysis suggested that the room had been painted Spanish brown (red) with elements like the bolection moulding on the fireplace picked out in Prussian blue. Analysis by Susan Buck revealed that the room had never been painted with such a two-tone scheme. Rather, the early 18th century Spanish brown color was replaced by the newly fashionable Prussian blue color. We chose to repaint the room to match Susan’s findings for the earliest color. We worked with Erika Sanchez-Goodwillie to mix handmade linseed oil paint based on Susan’s analysis. The closest commercial color match is Benjamin Moore 2172-30 “Mexicana.”

Credit Line:
Original Installation: Gift of Frank L. Horton; Renovations: An Anonymous Donor