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Sunday, December 9, 12 - 5
2018 Historic Petersburg Holiday Homes Tour
1289 UPPER APPOMATTOX LANE
Battersea is a substantial stuccoed brick house located north of Upper Appomattox Street in the city of Petersburg, near the south bank of the Appomattox River. Even though the 37+ acre property is bordered by a 19th-century neighborhood and a light industrial area, it still retains its historic rural character. The house was built in 1768 by Colonel John Banister, the first Mayor of Petersburg and a signer of the Articles of Confederation. Battersea was designed and built as a symmetrical five-part Anglo-Palladian house featuring a two-story central block, one-story wings that act as hyphens, and one-and-a-half story end pavilions. One-story columned porticos mark the entrances on the front, back, and sides of the house. The plan of the interior reflects the five-part massing of the exterior, presenting a symmetrical single-pile plan with rooms extending to either side of the central block. The designer of the house is unknown.
Battersea is one of the earliest and finest surviving examples of a five-part, Robert Morris-style Palladian house form in the United States, and is the earliest surviving, fully developed example of this house type in Virginia. Battersea represents a refined and original synthesis of ideas from Andrea Palladio and Robert Morris, copying neither but reinterpreting ideas from both to meet 18th-century American needs. The five-part house form was a basic manifestation of Palladianism in both Britain and America, which enjoyed popularity in the United States during the 18th and early-19th centuries. Today, Battersea is a rare and unusually sophisticated survival of this form. Some of the finest early nineteenth century Classically-inspired architectural detailing resulted–distinctive in its period expression and craftsmanship–within the framework of the Palladian form. The later work shows a rare understanding of the derivation of the Palladian form and a clear intention to work within the parameters of this style. Battersea is therefore eligible for national significance under Criterion C in the area of architecture.