Photo Journey: The University of Virginia’s Rotunda (pt 2 of a series)

Taking a much-needed break from editing The Demon Duke to bring you an image-heavy post about the stunning interior of the University of Virginia’s Rotunda.

This is the second in a series photo-documenting my visit to UVA on a delightful but cold February day, 2017. I hope you enjoy!

Have you been there? Share your experiences in the comments!

The basement entrance (from the south looking north). Perhaps not the most glamorous place to start, but it’s where I’ve always gone in, and it seems fitting to begin at the bottom, as the building only gets more glorious as you go up. Plus that bell is cool.
The basement room on the right (east) houses a display about the Rotunda, giving you information on its uses and adventures over the years.

Chemical Hearth. Suddenly feeling the urge to have a chemist as a hero. But all my knowledge of chemistry from my high school days has long since evaporated…

A 360 degree view of the information room:

Across from the information room is a large basement meeting room. Here’s a 360 degree view:


And now to the main floor – and the first glimpse of the lawn through the windows. I love those columns.
Main floor, looking south from the middle of the room. Ah, the symmetry! The beauty of those simple staircases! The picture doesn’t really capture the feel, but I did my best.

A 360 degree view of the main hall:

Not sure if Mr. Jefferson appreciated me taking a picture from behind him – but I did it anyway.
Mr. Thomas Jefferson himself. Students made sure to carry down this very large, very heavy statue from the third floor to save it from the 1895 fire!
Bonus! Here’s my husband in 1998, (then boyfriend and VERY soon-to-be fiancé) posing with Mr. Jefferson about 10 minutes before he proposed to me in the Dome Room. I had no idea it was coming.
This man would have been interesting to know in real life – brilliant, but full of contradictions.
Even the ceiling moldings are intricately fabulous.
An ornate mirror in the main floor study room. I could imagine this in a Regency ball…
Oh, how I love blue! Doesn’t this look like a lovely place to sit for a spell? But I didn’t…I was on a mission to see the Dome Room.

A 360 degree view of the blue study room on the west side of the main hall:

Looking through a main floor window to the Pavilions on the Lawn outside.
More fancy moldings. Because why not?
This small room at the north end of the main floor is the very room in which my husband defended his dissertation. I was there, completely in awe of him.
Looking out the main entrance on the south side. Visible across the lawn in the distance is Old Cabell Hall.
Every inch is fantastic. I wandered out onto the landing off the south side entrance and took pictures of windows. Yes, I did.
In tribute to the young men who gave their lives in WWI.
At last, it’s time to ascend to the Dome Room. But here’s a view from the staircase, showing the position of Mr. Jefferson in relation to everything.
One of my favorite views – looking south down the Lawn from the Dome Room.

From A Man of Character:
They climbed the curved stairwell to the Dome Room, passing by a few other tourists chatting with each other. At the top, Ben stopped and turned to the window. It was the same view as before they had come in, looking down the Lawn at the Pavilions and student rooms, with a glimpse of Old Cabell Hall at the far end. From up high, though, it was even more impressive, especially framed through the large white columns of the Rotunda’s back entryway. “Wow,” Cat said. “Yeah,” replied Ben. “Wow.”

And here it is! Newly renovated, but still as beautiful as ever. The University of Virginia Rotunda’s Dome Room.
Another view. Ironically, my 360 degree camera app wouldn’t work for taking a picture from the middle of the room – everything was so symmetrical, the camera thought I was taking the same shot over and over!
Imagine listening to lectures here! Magnificent. Presidential. Awe-inspiring.
A panoramic attempt.
I am a fan of columns. Especially when they’re as impressive as these.
The bookshelves have been updated – some still hold old tomes, as before, but others contain more modern (and accessible) books. And others contain displays such as these – an examination of Jane Eyre-inspired objects.
I need to come here to write. Often. How could one not feel inspired here? There were actually two young women working at such a table. I wanted to ask them. “Do you appreciate this? Do you know how amazing it is to be up here?” But I dislike being obnoxious, so I didn’t. But why didn’t I spend more time in here when I was an actual student? (Of course, the comfy, inviting furnishings are new, so that might be one explanation…)
Can’t have a Dome Room without a Dome! The skylight lets in magnificent light – bright, cheery, warm.


Perhaps the most exciting thing for me, having visited here numerous times, was the fact that we could now ascend to and stroll around the balcony level of the Rotunda. I spent a long time there – and look how stunning it is looking down from above!
Panoramic attempt of the Dome Room balcony. All those comfy chairs! Outlets! Why was no one up here? (Why am I not there now?)


I love to imagine Matt and Amara sitting here, enjoying an afternoon together. Sadly, Amara never got to go into the Rotunda in A Scandalous Matter, as its events happened while the Rotunda was closed for renovations. How’s that for being accurate? 😉

From A Scandalous Matter:
She wanted to explore the large building she’d overheard someone call the Rotunda, but it was covered in metal pipes and poles— for renovations, the same stranger had said.

One more look down from above – and this shows the back of the room.
Seeing those Corinthian capitals up close was something else! (And yes, I did have to look up my column capital types – I knew of Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian, but couldn’t remember which was which.)

Here are several 360 degree views of the Dome Room (though none take from the center of the room, since the symmetry confused the camera). Because I just couldn’t get enough of it!

And to cap it all off, this promo I made for A Man of Character. Because it still makes me giggle.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode, in which we snapped photos of the outside of the Rotunda – and the interior of the Colonnade Club

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