Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated January 8, 1858.
My Dear Sir
Your letter of the 4th inst. in relation to the statue for the capitol is received.
The design you propose is so far as I am able to judge entirely proper. The artist
probably well understands that all the parts of it over which we shall look will
need to be higher then--though seen from the ground I refer to shoulders, top of
head amp;c. and in addition that projection will require an
[initial?] boldness. The head will need to be slightly inclined forward, as in
looking we should see the chin and neck more in proportion then we
should see the rest of the head. I simply call attention to these points. All
through the drawings of the finish for the dome I have [remembered?] this principle
and as much as possible provided against any
ill effect that might otherwise be produced You ask for information in regard to the pedestal. I will state that I have made calculations for a stick of timber placed as a on the end of which the statue will stand and to which it will be strongly bolted. The post will be of sufficient length to cut off at any point we may think best when we are ready for the finish. My own opinion is, that something less than two feet above the top of the rail will be required. The pedestal will nessarily be , as I want to retain a passage of at least two feet between it, and the inside of the balustrade for standing room for visitors. The pedestal may be anything less than feet as the size of the statue may demand. The artist will need to but make the model of the statue with a circular plinth of eight or ten inches to stand upon. The pedestal itself will be so much hid by the balustrade that he shall not need any design for it
other than I shall make myself. I propose to attend to making it as the work may require, so as to have an agreement with the work below. It will be the better way to say nothing in relation to the pedestal at present. When the balustrade is put on we can then see much better just how high up to finish the top of the pedestal. I have taken a line from the Insurance office to the top of the rail of the balustrade and two feet will be about what we shall want. The statue as shown on the perspective drawing is 14 feet high. I should not change it I think. If it be made of this dimension it will look considerable larger than life size; probably 9ft. would look about as large there as a person 6ft high would look on the ground. Still we should not be governed by that, but instead the idea of the thing itself. I am unable to tell what it would cost, but will make enquiries after I know what is to be done. The
statue may be put up at after the dome is boarded, . My idea is to paint the whole of the lead of the dome and sand it like granite in like manner with the rest of the work as the surface is broken the effect will be much better than it would with any color which would contrast much As the dome itself is large I think to make granite color will be much better. The statue should be ready to put up by the 1st day of July, as we want to clear off the stagings below as soon as practical in order to prevent boards amp;c. being blown about over the stone work.
There are many precautions that will need to be taken in the statue in order to ensure it as a thing calculated to stand the storms of a century. I will not trouble you with a recital of them now but will at the proper time inform you.
If I am not clear on all the points you propose please inform me
I am yours trulyThomas W. Silloway
121 Court St.
References in this letter:
Thomas W. Silloway, (1828-1910), was only thirty years old in 1857 when he was chosen architect for the new State House in Montpelier. Silloway was from Massachusetts, and had worked in the office of Ammi B. Young, the architect who designed the previous building. Silloway and Dr. Powers, the superintendent of construction for the 1857 job, had worked together to design and build a new courthouse in Woodstock, Vermont, that burned in 1854.