From Gilpin to Gallery: The History of 208 King Street

When the Potomac River’s tide engulfed most of modern day Union Street in the 1790’s, George Gilpin built and owned the building where Principle Gallery currently resides. Having sliced into the nearby cliff, Gilpin used the surrounding clay and stone for the foundation of the 208 King Street location. He would then use this building as a place for daily living and business matters.

Gilpin House Plaque

Apart from being an innovative engineer, Gilpin was also a man of many hats. He was the collector of customs, a member of the Fairfax Committee of Safety, a soldier in the Revolutionary troops with George Washington, and the husband of Martha Washington’s cousin. His connections to leading officials, through business and marriage, elevated his importance within the Alexandrian community to the point where he was later promoted to the town surveyor. In such a position, he was responsible for producing a contemporary map of Alexandria’s shoreline as well as cutting down the bluffs and the grading that eventually provided the landfill off of Lee Street.


While at the 208 King Street address, Gilpin would conduct business concerning the future of Alexandria in the back rooms that still remain to this day. It has also been said that Gilpin would help sell products from George Washington’s Mount Vernon distillery in the building as well.

Brick Room 2015

In more modern times, the King Street location was previously the Gilpin Book Store where many Alexandrians spent their time perusing books and newspapers. After 20 years of business, Gilpin Book Store closed its doors, allowing for Principle Gallery to move from its Cameron Street site onto King Street. To learn more about Principle Gallery’s history and previous location, click this link!

Though little is known about the preceding owners, the Gilpin House still retains its architectural qualities and historic character from when George had first built it. Principle Gallery welcomes you to explore the fascinating history behind the building and, of course, see some beautiful artwork as well!





Rental Space at Principle Gallery


Have you been wanting to plan a special event, but been looking for the perfect location? Do you need a space for a reception or personal/corporate celebration?  Well, Principle Gallery is a gorgeous historic building filled with amazing art and we are more than happy to help you host your special occasion at an affordable cost!

Gallery Floor Plan Full

With the original architecture of a Revolutionary War era townhouse and storefront, your guests will be welcomed into a heartwarming yet sophisticated environment. We offer five gallery rooms for you to host your event with a maximum occupancy of 160 guests. Some of the space’s features include original hardwood floors, a modern pyramid skylight, dimming track and brass candelabra lights. Renters are also welcomed to use a fully-equip kitchenette with electric stove, microwave, and refrigerator.

Click this LINK to take a virtual tour of the gallery!

As for scheduling, the gallery will only be available for evening events, granted another scheduled event is not planned. Our affordable rental rates do vary based upon the day and will include cleaning costs. Caterers, photographers, and bartenders are also permitted within the gallery for the event.

Front of gallery rehearsal dinner

Please contact the gallery for more information. We will be able to provide you a floor plan, rates, space details, and more!


How to Light Artwork: Bright Ideas

After following our tips on how to hang your artwork, next is to learn how to light it properly. From conserving the piece to making it look the best, lighting has a huge effect on how artwork is displayed. Here are just a few tips that will help with the longevity of your piece all the while flaunting its beauty.

Rosemberg lighting RIGHT

Alejandro Rosemberg, “Autumn Series – Painting No. 1”


Light fixtures can determine how your piece is conserved as well as how the overall display is achieved. To begin with, let’s look at which type of lighting system is best for your work.

  • TRACK LIGHTING OR RECESSED CANS: These two types of light fixtures are the best due to their flexibility and professional look.
    • Track lighting is the preferred method, typically used within a gallery setting, because of its maneuverability along the track and adjustable heads.
      • NOTE: This method of lighting is used when lighting a whole wall as well as drawing attention to the details of a piece.
    • If looking for a clean look without noticeable fixtures, recessed cans are the best option. Try to find ones with adjustable heads to provide more flexibility.
      • NOTE: This system is suggested for larger pieces for it provides an even light intensity with its equidistant fixture heads.
  • PICTURE LIGHTS: If you’re not willing to completely renovate your house to light your art, we suggest buying picture lights that hang above the piece. Though they are not as flexible and may cause more damage due to its close proximity to the piece, picture lights are the most affordable fixture that still provide professional, appropriate lighting.
  • LIGHT BULBS: Light bulbs are obviously the most essential part of lighting a piece. The type of bulb you use will prevent fading, cracking, and much more.
    • HALOGEN: Halogen lamps are not really suggested, but they can still be used if placed at a safe distance and are equip with UV filters.
    • LED: These bulbs are highly recommended because they do not emit UV and have little heat.




Once you have decided which light fixture fits best with your artwork and space, now is the time to adjust the light’s direction and intensity.

  • LIGHT PLACEMENT:  The following tips are geared towards light fixtures that are adjustable, but if you have another type of lighting system, still keep these in mind when lighting the art.
    • DOWNLIGHT: You will want to downlight the piece instead of uplighting it – uplighting is generally used for furniture and larger media.
    • LIGHT ANGLE: This is when hanging and lighting art have similar installation methods. The light should hit the piece at 30 to 45 degrees, which should be around 60″ from the floor or the center/eye-level point.

Below is Jeremy Mann’s “A Long Abandoned Dream” lit correctly (left) and incorrectly (right). The left displays the proper degree to which the light should be adjusted, hitting key focal points of the piece; whereas, the piece on the right is incorrectly lit due to the light fixtures pointing above and around the art.


  • LIGHT INTENSITY: From light fixtures that can dim or a sunny room, there are a few different ways to illuminate your work.
    • LIGHTING RULE: A “rule” to keep in mind is to have the piece three times brighter than the rest of the room.
    • NATURAL LIGHT: It is suggested that paintings are not hung in direct natural light because the UV and infrared radiation can harm to the art. Instead, place the piece on a north-facing wall or one that has indirect lighting for an optional lighting solution.


We hope these tips have enlightened you about the lighting process! Stay updated with our blog and social media accounts to find more “How To” posts and make sure to #PGHowTo on Instagram/Facebook to tell us about how our blog has helped you with the art in your space!

Remember, our #PrincipleAtHome social media posting contest is still going on until the end of July – view this link to learn more!




Jeremy Mann’s New Book!

mann vol 1-3 release

Jeremy Mann is a world renowned artist and one of our most sought-after painters. 2016 has been a big year for him; in addition to a documentary about his life and work being released this year, we are thrilled to announce that Jeremy has also had another book published! This book focuses on Jeremy’s plein air landscape painting. Here’s a bit of the description from Jeremy himself about the book’s contents:

“The book is a 6 x 9 inch wide, 176pg, hardcover book which comes in two editions, the regular edition and the Collector’s Edition. The majority of the book is comprised of practically an exact duplication of the sketchbook in which I’ve painted my plein air studies from life throughout the last several years at home and abroad in Europe.  Following this is a section of selected plein air paintings which were done on panels during the same time, and now hang in my home, none of which have ever been exhibited.  The book then ends with a few pages of film photography from the journey, as well as a few digital images of myself and others painting, an index of locations, a page of publishing info, and lastly a few environment sketches from life from other sketchbooks.”

This book will be available in TWO VERSIONS, both available in limited quanities! The regular edition, as described above, will be priced at $40 USD.

There will also be a limited available number of the collector’s edition book, which includes an ORIGINAL PLEIN AIR LANDSCAPE by Jeremy permanently bound within the book! The collector’s edition will also have a special cover and come packaged in a fine quality clamshell box. This version will be priced at $600 USD and we will have a very LIMITED QUANTITY available!

Call the gallery at 703.739.9326 to reserve your copy TODAY!

Please note: We are able to ship these books, even internationally, but cannot estimate shipping costs for you until we know the specific delivery address.

Mann Plein Air

UPDATE! “Root to Bloom” Prizes

UPDATE! “Root to Bloom” Prizes

As many of you know, we have an open call for entries until Wednesday, September 28th for our juried exhibition, “Root to Bloom: The Places Artists Call Home.” Gallery staff and guest juror, Teresa Oaxaca, will be selecting submitted works to feature in the gallery and the show will be opening Friday, November 11th. New to the call is the addition of prizes and recognitions! On the show’s opening night, we will be announcing a number of awards for distinguished works and artists!

Twitter Header Gandy1


  • Best In Show: A monetary prize of $1,200
  • Second Place: A monetary prize of $500
  • Third Place: A monetary prize of $300
  • Social Media Award: An award identifying the work most liked on our Facebook
  • Gallery Visitors’ Choice Award: An award recognizing the favorite of gallery visitors

More valuable prizes and recognitions will be announced later, so stay tuned!

If you’re an artist or know an artist, please refer to our call for entries page on our website to submit works. This page also describes how to submit works as well as other guidelines. Please feel free to contact the gallery if you have any questions or if you or your organization would like to partner with us to reward participating artists!


How to Hang Your Art: Part 2

There are so many little details that go into redesigning a room, especially when it comes to hanging art. So, instead of throwing every little detail at you, here are just a few tips to consider before, during, and after hanging your art!


Colin Fraser, “Patina”, pictured within collector’s home



Not sure how to arrange your paintings? Well before doing anything, try these tips out:

  • GRID OR SALON STYLE: If you have multiple pieces of art that you want to arrange, consider displaying them in a grid or salon style.
    • If a clean look for the room is the style you’re trying to achieve, hang the works in equal measurements from one another while assembling them into a square or rectangle formation. This is also best if most of the paintings are the same size.

      Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 1.42.18 PM

      A grouping of works from the 2015 Jeremy Mann exhibition hung in a grid style

    • If the pieces are different sizes, we suggest hanging them salon style. “Salon style” simply refers to the fashion in which 19th-century galleries displayed art by clustering multiple, varying sized paintings onto a wall. This method is best presented when there are multiple paintings of different sizes, especially with one larger piece.
      • NOTE: It is recommended that the largest piece of the collection is placed in the center, but if there is not a noticeably larger piece, weigh the center of the wall with pieces in darker frames.
  • PAPER CUT-OUT: If you are thinking of doing the salon style, but are unsure how the works will look together, follow this tip:
    • Cut out pieces of brown scratch paper the same size of your artworks, then arrange the paper cut-outs by taping them onto the wall. Now you can see how the sizes fit together AND prevent any extra holes in the wall!


After deciding between grid and salon style, after taping up the paper, and after measuring how high to hang the piece, you’re finally ready to put it on the wall.

  • GUIDING TAPE: If the work you are hanging has two hooks as opposed to a picture wire, cut out a piece of tape the same length as the distance between the two hooks. Take this tape and place it at the height you plan to hang the piece. This will not only help you with setting up the screws, but will also help with leveling.


  • STICKY-NOTE: After you have marked a dot on the wall for the pilot hole, put a horizontally folded sticky note under it. This will catch any dust when you’re drilling.


Now that everything is said and done, there is still one last thing to do. Take a picture! Even though this sounds like a social media ploy (which it kind of is), taking a picture of your artwork on the wall can give you another set of “eyes” to readjust the piece if needed.

photo 1a

Another view of a collector’s home

After you take the picture, make sure to tag #PGHowTo and Principle Gallery on Facebook or Instagram for helping you hang your art! And just to let you know, we are also going to have a month-long Facebook and Instagram competition called #PrincipleatHome. It’s YOUR TURN to take pictures of Principle Gallery art in your home. Just tag @PrincipleGallery and #PrincipleAtHome to have a chance of winning a gorgeous Lisa Gloria painting! Check out our posts on Facebook and Instagram today to find out more about the contest!


How to Hang Your Art: Part 1

So, you bought the painting. You framed the painting. But how do you hang the painting?

It can be pretty daunting to have this beautiful piece of art and then have no idea where to put the piece, how high to hang it, or even know what types of screws. So to help you out, we’ve put together the best tips to make your art look THE BEST.


Usually you buy a piece because you’ve already envisioned it hanging in your dining room right above the red cedar credenza. But in some cases, you may be torn between two perfect spots or may have bought the painting with no space in mind– which who could blame you? Here are some tips to help you decide the best spot and where to place it:

  • SITTING ROOM OR STANDING ROOM: Do your guests usually sit or stand in the room where you’re thinking of hanging your piece?
    • If a “standing” room, we suggest hanging the work at the standard 57-60″ from the floor.
    • If a “sitting” room, we suggest hanging the work a little lower to improve viewing from a seated position. This could be around 50″.
  • ABOVE FURNITUREDo you have a couch or table that pairs well with your painting right above it?
    • It is highly recommended to either hang one piece on the above wall that is 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the furniture below, or to have a collection of pieces that, in totality, fill the space of 1/2 to 2/3 of the furniture’s width below.
    • We also suggest hanging the piece or pieces 6″-8″ above your furniture.

Pinterest Couch PS


Now, we already mentioned the standards of height for your piece to hang, but let’s get a little more specific. WARNING: Math is involved.

  • WIRED BACKING: Principle Gallery, more often than not, has a picture wire attached to the back of the piece. When mounting the painting, keep this in mind for the artwork will hang lower on the hook once the wire is taut.
    • To accommodate for this height difference, pull the wire from the center up towards the top of the frame and measure the distance from the taut wire to the top of the frame. Keep this measurement handy because it will be used in the next step.
  • STANDARD HEIGHT: This is where things will get a little tricky and where more math is involved. The following steps are to help you hang your piece at standard height, which we are going to say is 60″.
    • MID-POINT: Find the mid-point of the painting’s height and add that number to 60″.
    • WIRE MEASUREMENT: Using the measurement of the mid-point and standard height, subtract your wire measurement. This is where the hook will be placed on the wall.
    • EXAMPLE: The distance from the picture wire to the frame is 4″, the mid-point of the painting’
    • s height is 20″, and the standard height is 60.”
      1. 60″ + 20″ = 80″
      2. 80″ – 4″ = 76″
      3. 76″ is where you will place the hook.
    • NEED HELP? You can always give the gallery a call if you need more instructions, but if not, check out this link that does all the math for you!
  • HEAVY PIECES: If the painting is pretty heavy, we suggest using two hooks that are 4″-5″ apart. Don’t worry, the calculations from earlier will still be the same even with the addition of another hook.