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Item Description

Title: Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated July 9, 1857.


  • Silloway, Thomas William, 1828-1910


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter



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, Center for Digital Initiatives, University of Vermont Libraries

Type of Resource: text

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Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated July 9, 1857., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 17, 2018)


Transcribed by : Ellen M. Thomson and Ralph H. Orth

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Boston July 9..1857.

Mr. Marsh

My Dear Sir. A letter from our friend Mr. Williams of Woodstock informs me of the action of the Commissioners in regard to the perspective. I am pleased to learn that we are to have a picture of our building as it is to be. The thought is more than a good one that something must be done to counteract the bad influence of the wood cut "put out" by Walton. The picture in his book is capable of doing us all much injury for it "lieth" Walton did his best to get a worthy picture. He gave the man his price ($75. for the two wood cuts) and left nothing undone which seemed to be needed to produce a good thing I called on the engraver when the thing had been drawn on the block and was finished ready to cut. I told him the building was well enough but all of the dome part was entirely wrong. I even went so far as to mark out for him on the block the amendments that were needed. The whole was too high and much too small in diameter. He admitted the mistake, acknowledged the disagreement with even the lithograph and promised to amend it. You may depend I was chagrined when I saw while I was at M. the last time, the picture, printed, and bound up in the book. Made with all the -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- errors. I asked how many were printed he said enough for the book and that all were bound up. Nothing could be done and there the matter ended. I am sorry for Walton for he did all he could to have it right. Mr. W. says the new picture must be made. I have written to him for the drawings cc. cc. and also to the Dept. Now there is another thing to be done before the picture can be made we must make such amendments to the dome as is needed. I have considered the matter for a long time and before I made any of my framing drawings decided to make the die or drum about 3 ft more in diameter retaining the same height. I roughly drew the thing out on one of the small lithographs and I will send you with this the drawing that in the main suit me best. Of course it is only a sketch and rough at that. Please return it when you have considered it fully. One thing will need to be remembered, and that is that all our finish will be bold and each part brought out as prominent as the kind of architecture will warrant me in doing. Another thing you must consider also and that is this. The whole thing will be very much lower in appearance when executed, for everything in the picture is on a level with the eye. In the building all will be (in effect) cut down. Every projection will lower the member above it. I -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- have with much care calculated the loss in high of the several parts in these particulars and proportioned my work accordingly. The executed work would in all probability show as much difference from the sketch I send you to-day, as this shows different from the same before it was amended. You will need to make all criticisms by result of the figures, rather then by looks of a drawing at 1/16in. Scale. The large perspective is better, but as I always have said needs amending In the new drawing we should have the scale made as it would look when completed, rather then as it necessarily appears in elevation. One thing more, We must remember that we are dealing with Grecian Architecture. Please consider the matter and give me your opinion. All you say in the premises shall have due consideration. I can only add in this place that I am tied hand and foot to the work below and all I do must agree as much as possible with that respectably classic portico. Any thing approaching the Roman I must scrupulously avoid. My aim in working out the details of the dome and the work beneath it will be to produce a gracefull and somewhat substantial effect rather than anything that is gorgeous and showay. Any extensive curves are to be avoided.

I am yours truly

Thomas W. Silloway
121 Court St.

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