[caption id="attachment_167728" align="alignright" width="300"] Cupola House volunteer docent Susan Inglis.[/caption] Layers of history lie beneath the new paint job on the Cupola House. The more than 250-year-old home in downtown
Layers of history lie beneath the new paint job on the Cupola House. The more than 250-year-old home in downtown Edenton was painted 21 times before its current iteration. Renewed Kelly green shutters, bright against the cream clapboard siding, draw visitors in through the picket fence that surrounds the property. The house hasn’t looked this way since it was built in 1758 for Francis Corbin, a land agent for the Earl of Granville. “It really is a treasure for the whole town,” says Susan Inglis, a Cupola House volunteer docent. “I am delighted to be able to do something to take care of that treasure.”
In 2018, The Cupola House Association — an organization that Inglis’s great-grandparents helped start in 1918 — hired paint analyst Susan Buck, a conservator who has worked on projects ranging from fifth-century B.C. Egyptian coffins to rooms at Thomas Jefferson’s home. Last August, after four years of Buck’s microscopic examination, the house was painted in modern-day shades — Niveous and Seaweed by Benjamin Moore — that Corbin chose to match the original colors.
As a docent, Inglis guides visitors through the house with a deep appreciation for the landmark’s long history. The first floor is where she and her mother checked out books when it was the Chowan County Library. Her mom hand-carved rosettes into the dining room’s mid-1960s mantel and, in 1988, started the Wednesday Weeders, a volunteer club that still meets to maintain the on-site gardens.
Looking through the native yellow Carolina jessamine that drapes over the arbor in the garden, it’s easy to imagine the life that surrounded the house centuries ago. Though cars have replaced the horse-drawn carriages that were once parked outside, a picture-perfect restoration sparks conversations that transcend a new coat of paint.print it