Madison Style

Research & Collections

Creating an American Style

In 1817, James and Dolley Madison retired from public office to their beloved Piedmont home.  Enlarged and remodeled during Madison’s presidency, Montpelier was a unified Georgian mansion-house with two private, flanking wings and ample public space for the flood of guests they anticipated. Dolley found that she was “less worried here with a hundred visitors than with 25” in Washington. By their retirement, Montpelier was furnished with objects that represented many phases of the Madisons’ lives, from vernacular and regional Virginia-made pieces in Nelly’s chambers to ornate furnishings acquired for the Madisons by friends abroad after the French Revolution.

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"I was much pleased with Montpellier and think both the house and situation delightful, I found too, much amusement in looking at the endless variety of pictures, statues, and engravings with which every room is crowded."

Mary Randolph to Ellen Coolidge, October 30, 1826