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Personal Name Recipient

Allison, James W., 1833-1898


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison discussing stains and estimates for fireplace facings.


James W. Allison, Esq. Richmond, Va. Dear Sir, Your’s of the 4th was not fully answered, so we shall add a few words here. The reason for the "scratches" on sample we sent you was simply due to the fact that the grain was not filled with "filler" or varnish; but it has nothing to do with the stain. Filler is used to save varnish, and when it is required it should be applied after the stain and not before, as it simply prevents the stain from doing its work. Occasionally "filler" is used with the stain to save trouble and expense, but with stain applied freely and then wiped and three coats of varnish the best results should follow. Occasionally after the stain and wiping is done, the dried color is not attained, and then the additional coloring matter is put in a "filler" to do it. Your prejudice to slate and blue stone hearths is unfortunate for they give very good results in every way and are probably cheaper than any other. While the material itself is cheap looking in its natural state, when filled with oil it is dark and unobtrusive. The enclosed estimate from Batterson and Eisele for the marble facings and hearths for Library and Bed Rms. The first is the more important as far as the house itself is concerned. The cost of the marble facings is probably about as low as the tile facings and brass trim. Tile hearths would be less expensive and can be selected to match the marble facings. The difference, however, is slight. We can send samples of these marbles to you, if you are not familiar with them. Pavonazzo is a cream color marble with dark veining occurring in patches. Stowe & Nuckols have written that they did not understand that a "car" was specified for your elevator which is a curious oversight on their part that is hard to believe under the circumstances. They will have to provide one at any rate. Your's truly, Griffin & Randall [ALS, T. Henry Randall to James W. Allison, April 10, 1895, on letterhead: Griffin & Randall Architects [48 Exchange Place canceled; next two words stamped] 52 Broadway New York] [edited by TOC]

Personal Name Subject

Allison, James W., 1833-1898 -- Correspondence

Corporate Name Subject

Griffin & Randall -- Correspondence; Batterson & Eisele

Topical Subject

Architecture, Domestic -- Virginia -- Richmond; Architects and builders; Decoration and ornament, Architectural -- Virginia -- Richmond; Architecture -- Details; Building -- Estimates -- Virginia -- Richmond; Woodwork; Stains and staining; Paint; Hearths; Fireplaces; Marble

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, 1895 April 10, 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, 1895 April 10



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