Monday, November 9, 2009

Battersea Foundation

The Progress Index reported...
PETERSBURG - The Battersea Foundation has won a prestigious grant for $150,000 that will be used for the upcoming second phase of restoration at the historic home. The $150,000 grant must be matched by the foundation and will help rebuild the 1768 estate's chimneys, among other things. "The Battersea Foundation was selected as one of two projects in Virginia for the Save America's Treasure's Grant," said Ronald White, a representative from Congressman J. Randy Forbes office. "The preservation of history is one of the most important things in this country." White praised the organization for continuing to grow - now with more than 130 members - and for its new Web site and the array of educational programs the foundation is offering. "We must protect and preserve our future, we are the guardians of history," White said.

The grant announcement was made on Oct. 20 during the Battersea Foundation's annual meeting on the lawn of the historic home. Barbara Moseley, president of the foundation's board of directors, said that Richard Wolbers, an associate professor and art conservator with the University of Delaware, had recently completed some paint reveals inside the house. The reveals will allow the restoration of the original color of paint inside the house and the careful removal of later paints that were added. Kathleen Kilpatrick, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, said that Battersea represents a supreme resource that must be cared for. "Architecture is the only form of art where we expect the art object to serve a utilitarian purpose," Kilpatrick said. She added that the foundation must find a way to put the building to good use, but that proper planning must be a part of that. She commended the foundation for starting the process of a strategic plan. "Planning is not just a done and done proposition." The meeting concluded with the presentation of the first annual Vanguard award to the Elmwood Fund, which has made numerous contributions to the Battersea Foundation. Battersea is an important Colonial plantation house that was constructed near the banks of the Appomattox River in 1768 for John Banister, first mayor of Petersburg, a Revolutionary delegate, congressman and framer of the Articles of Confederation. The sectional massing of Battersea displays the neo-Palladian style as popularized in England in the 18th century and embraced in Colonial Virginia.

During the Revolutionary War, British troops occupied the house on more than one occasion.

F.M. Wiggins may be reached at 732-3456, ext. 3254 or

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