Above the fireplace here is a modern-day painting by Peter Waddell. According to Waddell, ‘history painting’ is never merely the direct portrayal of historical fact. Rather, it is an act of penetration – penetration into the past, and the subsequent recreation of that past in the present. This depicts the artist’s interpretation of the closing up of the Octagon upon the death of Ann Tayloe in 1855. Grandchildren are helping to roll up the carpet and take down the drapes to make way for the future occupants of the house.