View of the Stairhall

View of the Stairhall, Pennock House

View of the Stairhall, Pennock House, Norfolk, VA, 1796, Benjamin Latrobe


Cohen, Jeffrey and Charles Brownell. The Architectural Drawings of Benjamin Henry Latrobe. New Haven, 1994. 

Fazio, Michael. The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

Herman, Bernard. "Embedded Landscapes in the Charleston Single House, 1780-1820" in Exploring Everyday Landscapes: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture VII (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1997): 41-57.

Herman, Bernard. Townhouse: Architecture and Material Life in the Early American City, 1780-1830.Chapel Hill, 2005.

Lane, Mills. Architecture of the Old South: Virginia. Bee Hive, 1984.

Templer, John. The Staircase: History and Theories. MIT, 1992.

Wenger, Mark R. "The Central Passage in Virginia: Evolution of an Eighteenth-Century Living Space," Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture II. 1986.


1. The staircase represented in this image is far grander than the reality known by most southerners by the early nineteenth century. Explore the history of the staircase as an object in Virginia houses from the late seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century. 

2. Why was it important that elite houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century have a grand staircase? What were the social functions of the staircase? Why did some houses have another, less prominent staircase?

3. The Pennock House was the home of an important Norfolk sea captain. Compare and contrast townhouses in Norfolk, Charleston and Annapolis.

4. Benjamin Latrobe, the architect of the Pennock House, was a prominent, English-trained architect. Discuss the extent to which he played a role in shaping elite Southern architecture.

View of the Stairhall