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How He Changed over Time

He used to play the violin, but then, as his fingers thickened and lost some of their agility, he became frustrated by trying to play, and then bored by it. 


In the portrait of Jefferson that hangs
at Monticello, he is rendered two-toned:
his forehead white with illumination—

The Levy Family and Monticello

When he came of age, Thomas Jefferson inherited considerable property from his father in Albemarle County, Virginia, and he chose a site not far from Shadwell, his birthplace, as the seat of his own estate. He called it "Monticello," Italian for "little mountain," and between 1769, when he first began clearing the land for the house, and 1809, when Monticello reached its present design, he built and tinkered and constantly changed its features. As he told a friend, "Architecture is my delight, and putting up and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements."