Collections & Conservation



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Collections & Conservation

When Scottish merchant John Carlyle completed his riverfront home in 1753, it was the grandest mansion in the new town of Alexandria. Carlyle’s business and social ties made him a leading citizen in Virginia and brought wealth and prestige to his family. Today, Carlyle House is one of the nation’s finest examples of Georgian Palladian residential architecture.

When the house first opened as a museum in 1976, it sat mostly empty.  Fortunately, a detailed inventory of John Carlyle’s possessions remains. The museum is dedicated to furnishing the house with everything from “1 Old Tea Chest Called the Mistake” to “2 walnut Clothes presses.” While the museum displays a fabulous collection of 18th-century furnishings, the inventory is not yet complete.
As a Friend, you can help complete the Carlyle inventory.  The Friends of Carlyle House raise money to fund the purchasing of artifacts at Carlyle House.  Scroll below to see images of past purchases.

Current Fundraising Campaign- We need your help!

For many years the Carlyle House staff has been searching for a “small case clock” to match the one listed on John Carlyle’s 1780 probate inventory.  This September we were notified by a local dealer that he had made this very rare find!  The clock is in great, working condition and we can date it to exactly the same time period that John Carlyle moved into his new home in Alexandria, c. 1753.  The clock was made in London by James Chater between 1750 and 1755. 

James Chater was apprenticed in 1718 and became a member of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1727.  He was in partnership with his son from 1754 onwards, when work was signed James Chater & Son.  James Chater died in 1762.

The baroque style and early date of this clock make it a rare find indeed and very fitting for John Carlyle’s home.  You can help make this clock a part of the Carlyle House collection by donating or joining the Friends of Carlyle House.  To become a member please visit the NVRPA online shop and select your membership level:

  Other Purchases the Friends Have Made Possible: