Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Everything that’s Old is New Again: The State Library Then and Now

One of the most frequently asked questions when people visit the State Library in room 341 of the State House is: “What is that?” referring to a blue patch with a fleur de lis on the ceiling.

We have discovered through research that the design was on the entire ceiling in 1899. This image  originally published in the February 1899 issue of The New England Magazine shows the fleur de lis pattern on the ceiling. 

The pattern is three dimensional as shown in the image below and was rediscovered in the 1980’s by historians who wanted to know what was underneath the painted layers.

The part of the State House where the library is was built between 1889 and 1895 and was designed by architect Charles E. Brigham. If you get a chance, come to the State Library to see part of the historic ceiling in person.

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian