William Howard Adams
The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson
In 1784 Thomas Jefferson moved to the sophisticated and exhilarating city of Paris, where he spent the next five years as minister from the new United States of America. These were formative years for France, for the United States, and for Jefferson’s cultural and intellectual development.
   This engaging book recreates in word and illustration the atmosphere and personalities of prerevolutionary Paris, and it reveals the profound impact they had on one of America’s first transatlantic citizens. The principal focus is on Jefferson’s role as the preeminent American envoy in Europe after the departure of Benjamin Franklin, his participation in the cultural and political life of the city, and his private intrigues to help his friends bring the Bourbon monarchy to heel. Finally, Adams places the author of the Declaration of Independence in the middle of his second revolution and chronicles the dramatic events leading to the upheaval of 1788-1789. The book is richly illustrated with art of the period and with specially commissioned photographs of Parisian sites by Adelaide de Menil.

Yale University Press, 1997
364 pages, 68 illustrations
Jefferson’s Monticello
This thoroughly researched definitive study traces Monticello’s fascinating history and development from the first plans through the 40 years of building and rebuilding that continued right up to Jefferson’s death in 1826.
   In four major sections, the book deals with Jefferson the man and Jefferson the designer/builder; explores in detail the designing and building of the first as well as the final Monticello; examines the furnishings Jefferson designed and acquired for the house; and discusses the development of the grounds as well, for Jefferson was one of the first Americans to give serious thought to landscape architecture. Winner of the English Speaking Union Award for Nonfiction. Courtesy Abbeville Press.

Abbeville Press, 1988
288 pages, 250 illustrations, 100 in full color
The Eye of Thomas Jefferson
This extensive catalogue was originally produced by the National Gallery of Art to accompany a vast exhibition curated by Mr. Adams on the aesthetic life of the third president. Because Jefferson’s world was wide, his eye discerning, and his intellect extraordinary, the exhibition catalogue is wide-ranging. From the United States and Europe, the book brings together works of art from Jefferson’s world: paintings and sculptures that he admired, works that he owned, and portraits and sculptures of himself and his contemporaries. Jefferson’s interest in the decorative arts are included, along with reflections of Jefferson’s architectural interests and achievements, revealed in the buildings he admired and those that he designed.
   Highlights of the exhibition catalogue include The Medici Venus; David’s The Death of Socrates; Houdon’s marble busts of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson; Trumbull’s famous series of paintings of the American Revolution; re-creation of the Paris Salons of 1785, 1787, and 1789, which Jefferson visited while minister to France; Saint-Memin’s portraits of Osage Indians; and much more. With more than 600 illustrations, The Eye of Thomas Jefferson is a major work of scholarship. The thoroughness of the entries, makes this an indispensable reference work not only on Jefferson, but also on the world of the arts in the era of the American and French Revolutions.

University of Missouri, 1993
456 pages, over 600 illustrations
Earlier editions:
 University of Virginia, 1981 (pictured)
 National Gallery of Art, 1976

ALSO Jefferson and the Arts

Seven essays on Jefferson: “The Life Portraits of Thomas Jefferson” by Alfred F. Bush; “Jefferson as Art Collector” by Harold E. Dickson; “Jefferson and Adams’ English Garden Tour” by Edward Dumbauld; “Jefferson: The Making of an Architect” by Frederick Doveton Nichols; “Thomas Jefferson and the Planning of the National Capitol” by Paul F. Norton; “A Peep into Elysium” by George Green Shackelford; “Jefferson and French Eighteenth-Century Furniture” by Sir Francis Watson.

University Press of Virginia, 1976
293 pages, illustrations

© 2003 William Howard Adams