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John Jay’s original celestial globe is an optical planetarium, made by notable British globe makers William Bardin and his son Thomas Marriot Bardin, who began production of their globes in 1790. The celestial map shows positions of stars, clusters, nebula, and planetary bulae. The months of the year and corresponding zodiac signs are around the base. The…

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On a recent visit to the Cooper Hewitt, some of the Homestead’s staff had the opportunity to see a Surtout de Table (Table centerpiece) made by Pierre-Philippe Thomire. It is said to have been a present from Napoleon to his stepson Eugène de Beauharnais. Elements from that piece are almost identical to those seen on…

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Owned by John Jay’s wife, Sarah Livingston Jay, this c. 1710 Peter Van Dyke (1684-1750) teapot was originally made for her Aunt and passed to her through her mother. It was owned by three subsequent generations of the Jay family until Pierre Jay (1870-1949) loaned it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it spent…

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Tickets for our Standard House Tour and Thematic Tours are now available through our website. Due to tour popularity, and because the number of tickets available for each tour is strictly limited, we strongly recommend you purchase your tickets in advance. Please note that all members of your party are required to have a ticket…

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This green silk coin purse engraved with “Miss Jay” on the silver frame, belonged to either Nancy or Sarah Louisa Jay, John Jay’s two younger daughters. Coin purses constructed with rigid frames came into popularity in the early 19th century. Often the metal frames were purchased, and the fabric bags were knitted by young women…

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This Gouache (a type of opaque watercolor) is one of a pair that were painted by Maria Jay Banyer, John Jay’s daughter, when she was 18. They depict the Falls of Lodore in Cumbria County, England. Maria copied the original paintings by William Burgess. Maria was a well-educated, and talented artist who continued to draw and…

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This work table is part of a pair that belonged to Nancy and Maria Jay, who were the daughters of John Jay. The sliding fabric screen on the table could be raised, which allowed a woman to work near a fire and protect her face from any discomfort or injury. The tables were commonly used…

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This dressing mirror, or toilette de lit, was commissioned by Napoleon for his second wife, Princess Marie Louise of Austria-Hungary, to celebrate their wedding in 1810. Made by Martin Guillame-Biennais, First Goldsmith to the Emperor, the piece is awash with imperial symbolism and features a depiction of the Aldobrandini Wedding by engraver Augustin Dupré. It…

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Happy Birthday George Washington! This framed wax bust of Washington was created by Patience Lovell Wright (1725-1786). Wright was widowed in 1769 and needed a way to support her children. With her sister, also a widow, she set up a business creating wax portraits. In 1783 Wright wrote to John Jay of her intention to…

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Stephen and Harriet Myers, former slaves themselves, ran the Underground Railroad office in Albany, NY, and worked directly with John Jay II in their efforts to bring runaway slaves to freedom. We have three letters from 1860 in our collection from the Myerss that speak to Jay’s relationship with the couple and dedication to their…