Sometimes, as at "Carter's Grove," the miniature carving of the friezes was of exquisite beauty. Motifs such as the egg and dart, the Wall of Troy, and the Tudor rose were employed with fine effect. In the halls ornamentation was frequently given freer scope than elsewhere. The wide passageways which extended through the houses were customarily broken midway by arches of fine proportions. The usual focal point of interest in the hallways, however, was the stairs, the sweep of which was often majestic. Carved and hidden newel posts were common, and sometimes the pattern of the posts reappeared in elaborate friezes below the landing. Twist-carved balusters were placed on the steps, and running floral and foliated carving decorated the risers or step-ends of many of the stairs. For these homes the Virginia aristocrats imported furniture, china, plate, and other furnishings from England and France. Their letters to factors in the homeland were filled with descriptions of the articles wanted, and frequently specified that items must be in the latest London fashion. Choice pieces of walnut and mahogany, expensive mirrors, and carpets and hangings of the best quality graced their drawing rooms. Harpsichords, spinets, and other fine instruments stood in many homes, and portraits of members of the family, some by the best artists of the day, hung on their walls. In the dining rooms, fine crystal and plate emblazoned with the family crest gleamed on polished sideboards and tables.
County and Probate Records to Help you Find your Virginia Ancestors