In 1999, historians at the Virginia Historical Society acquired three curiously bound volumes of drawings and documents created between 1821 and 1858 by a long and unjustifiably-forgotten architect named Thomas R. Blackburn. Inspection revealed that these were, in fact, no ordinary documents but a unique window onto the life of a distinguished builder and his revered master: Thomas Jefferson.
In these extraordinary books, we find Blackburn, at first a young carpenter, engaged in the construction of Jeffersons famed "academical village" at the University of Virginia. He simultaneously embarked on an ambitious program of architectural study, guided, it appears, by Jefferson himself. The drawings he executed in the four decades that followed extraordinary ink and watercolor explorations of his many residential and civic commissions bear witness to his emergence as a mature and prolific architect in his own right.
In Jeffersons Shadow is a unique document of the relationship between an unknown but highly skilled country builder and the American statesman widely considered this nations first gentleman architect. But it is also an indispensable resource on the little-understood practice of architecture in the early and mid-nineteenth century. text found here This book is currently available on Amazon.