The Bosphorus Room

This room and the Naples Room above are the two oldest in the house. Our recent dendrochronology dates the main support beam below this room to 1685.

At that time this room would have looked very different. It was most likely built in the First Period style, with exposed beams featuring decorative cuts.

Richard Hooper, his wife and two children lived here until he died in 1690. Soon after his death, his wife, Elizabeth, fell on hard times. By the time of her death in 1701, the house was empty, lacking even a sheet to wrap her corpse. Following Elizabeth Hooper’s death the house was left empty for 15 years. In 1716 the house was reclaimed by Henry Hooper, the son of Richard and Elizabeth. He may have replaced part of the termite damaged structure of this room.

The room was updated in the Georgian style in the 1700s. Our paint analysis has shown that this process happened in multiple stages. It is likely that the first changes were made by Cornelius Waldo who advertised the house for rent as a country seat for a gentleman. Waldo sold the house to Joseph Lee in 1758. Lee completed the Georgianization of the room, adding such features as the furred out walls and window seats.

The most notable feature of this room, the wallpaper, was installed in 1856 by George and Susan Nichols. The paper was printed by the leading Parisian scenic wallpaper company, Joseph Dufour et Cie. It depicts scenes of the Bosphorus in Turkey and was installed to match the earlier wallpaper on the second floor.

Our exploration of the room has revealed some curious facts. The oak structure behind the south and west walls shows First Period details one would expect. However, the structure under the north and east walls are made from the pine wood and does not show the expected decorations. These structural beams have been covered since the middle of the 18th century. Why they don’t match from one side to the other is a mystery.