Architecture

"Weston Manor is a classic example of Virginia Georgian architecture...an elegant, formal five-bay dwelling with hipped roof — the very essence of the Tidewater plantation mansion"
-Calder Loth, Va. Dept. of Historic Resources

The builders of Weston followed an architectural style called "Georgian" (after the English kings who reigned during the height of its popularity in the eighteenth century). Characterized by symmetry and classically inspired architectural ornament, Georgian architecture first was used in the grand plantation houses of the upper classes, but soon became widespread in the design of more humble dwellings across Virginia. Symmetrical proportions can be seen in the layout of individual buildings like the Weston mansion. A central door, one "bay," is flanked on either side by two bays (windows). Often these proportions extended also to the arrangement of outbuildings around the house. Shirley Plantation in Charles City County provides an example of this symmetrical layout. By locating the exact footprint of the two outbuildings shown in early photographs of Weston, we may see how closely Weston's grounds originally followed this formal Georgian plan.

The Georgian style found its roots in the Renaissance, when the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome was rediscovered. Details like paneling and moldings often resemble the columns, pilasters, and pediments found on ancient temples.

Photos below: (left) A spiral staircase with concave paneling rises from the 28-foot long central passage. (center) The passage also includes a central arch with a paneled keystone. According to oral tradition, the woodwork was crafted by Davy Friend, an African-American slave owned by relatives of the Gilliam family. (right) Rivaling Weston's elegant exterior proportions, exquisitely detailed wood moldings and wainscotting adorn the interior.

A spiral staircase with concave paneling rises from the 28-foot long central passage.        The passage also includes a central arch with a paneled keystone. According to oral tradition, the woodwork was crafted by Davy Friend, an African-American slave owned by relatives of the Gilliam family.        Rivaling Weston's elegant exterior proportions, exquisitely detailed wood moldings and wainscotting adorn the interior.