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Personal Name Recipient

Allison, James W., 1833-1898


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison discussing work in the dining room.


Aug. 20th '94. James W. Allison Esq. Richmond. Va. Dear Sir. Your's of the 16th at hand. In regard to the large panels in the high Dining Rm. wainscoting we think you are mistaken about their effect, as in mahogany they would look very handsome indeed in spite of their simplicity. In fact it is a general rule with panelling of this wood that it is finished in large pieces and [next word interlined with caret] in comparitively plain surfaces in order that the grain and color of the wood may show to the greatest advantage. About a low wainscoting we agree with you. In fact we have often put in a chair rail and base and painted the walls [below canceled] between them to answer the same purpose as a low wainscoting with good results. Then the room gets its effect from the mantel, door and window trim, and the covering on the walls, which should be a rich tapestry paper or a Japanese paper (called “leather paper” because the designs are fac-similes of old leather designs). In such a way you can get for about $1000.00 a very effective room. We are now making a sketch to show you exactly what we should advise. We have also asked the contractors in Richmond and our men here to figure again on such a scheme. We are disappointed in not hearing yet from Stowe & Nuckols about their estimates for changes in finish &c. That matter will have to wait two weeks for Mr. Randalls’ return from his vacation. He has postponed his trip to Baltimore and will leave tomorrow morning for Childwold Park. N. Y. Mr. Randall will continue in charge of your house as you request and under the conditions you mention. Your's truly, Griffin & Randall [ALS, Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, August 20, 1894, on letterhead: Griffin & Randall, Architects 48 Exchange Place, New York.] [edited by CC]

Personal Name Subject

Allison, James W., 1833-1898 -- Correspondence; Randall, T. Henry, 1869-1905 -- Travel

Corporate Name Subject

Griffin & Randall -- Correspondence

Topical Subject

Architecture, Domestic -- Designs and plans; Architecture, Domestic -- Virginia -- Richmond; Architects and builders; Architecture -- Details; Building -- Estimates -- Virginia -- Richmond; Finishes and finishing; Paneling; Project management

Geographic Subject

Richmond (Va.) -- Historic houses, etc.; Richmond (Va.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.


Richmond (Va)


letters (correspondence)

Local Genre

text; archives


Still Image; Text

Digital Format





This material is in the public domain in the United States and thus is free of any copyright restriction. Acknowledgement of Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries as a source is requested.


Building VCU’s President's House


Original letter: Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, 1894 August 20, James W. Allison papers, M 1, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University.

File Name


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, 1894 August 20



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