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Battersea Walking Tour
Item 2 of 8

The exterior of Battersea exhibits a five-part Palladian style design complete with a Roman pine cone finial atop the roof, a symbol of fertility and immortality. The exterior remains well-preserved from the early 19th century and all sections of the house are original with no later additions present.


When Battersea was first constructed, it had plain brick walls. During the 1820s under the ownership of Judge John May, the stucco finish was likely added, effectively accentuating the Palladian appearance of Battersea. Because the brick was scored it was probably intended for the villa to be stuccoed all along given that the Banisters would have been able to afford perfect brick had they wanted the exterior to remain so. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the original one-story portico on the south side was replaced with a large two-story one taking up most of the front face of the central block. This was when the upper window on the central block was converted into a glass panel door to provide access to the second level of the portico.
This double portico was again reduced to a one-story, Federal style portico by Judge May, who owned Battersea until 1841. May also altered the three other porticos of Battersea to resemble a Federal style. Additionally, May added the Venetian windows with excellently crafted gauged-brick jack arches. The altered windows further reflect neo-Palladian architecture in Europe at the time. Battersea today most closely resembles the May era. Few changes to the exterior or interior were made after his ownership of the property. As such, the historical and architectural integrity remains remarkably well preserved. The front door to the property is also original, and hand painted to resemble wood grain by master faux finish artist, Elaine Tucker- Haviland, who owns Faux Finish Creations in Richmond, VA. 

 Battersea. Virginia Department of Historic Resources. September 14, 2006. Accessed May 30, 2018. http://www.dhr.Virginia.gov/registers/Cities/Petersburg/123-0059_Battersea_2006_NR_final.pdf.
Graham, W., & Wegner, M. R. (1988). Battersea: A Historical and Architectural Study. Prepared for the Friends of Battersea Committee.