RWW 75 Colonial Williamsburg
For our 10th wedding anniversary my wife and I paid a visit to one of our favorite places: Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. We took in the whole town and were fortunate to be one of the first people to take the furniture enthusiasts tour of the Everard house next to the Governor’s palace. You can hear some of my thoughts in an audioboo here regarding that tour.
This trip has sparked greater interest in southern furniture of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The book store at the visitor’s center is a goldmine for literature on this subject so bring your checkbook. I plan to explore this topic more in future posts. However in the colonial section, the time period recreated is from around 1710 to 1750 give or take. Essentially it is pre-revolutionary America and firmly within the American Queen Anne period; also known as the Neat and Plain style. Being prior to the revolution you see a great deal of British influence mixed with American styles. In essence you can walk through one of the nicer homes of a wealthy resident and see imported Chippendale style with ornate details and carving mixed with the Neat and Plain smooth lines and slipper feet. At the same moment, when you travel to the smaller homes and merchant building you take in the relatively rustic and common styles of Joiner’s furniture like pub stools and tables. In other words, so much to see and learn.
Of course the major draws for the woodworker are the Anthony Hay cabinet shop and the Carpenter’s shop. The weather was really cold and wet and while not pleasant it really kept the crowds to a minimum so I was able to spend a great deal of time talking with the Cabinetmakers and Joiners. God bless my tolerant wife for hanging out with me while I indulged in 18th century woodworking esoterica. Unfortunately during my visit to the cabinet shop I was recording the floor for a bit and when I raised the camera to record I hit the button and stopped recording while I thought I was. Bone head that I am I repeated that error for the better part of 45 minutes and didn’t get much footage. I did my best to piece together some video and some stills to recreate my visit.
There is much more woodworking goodness to taste in Williamsburg from the Cooper, Wheelwright, and Wallace museum to the Plantation and saw pit. This is just the tip of the iceberg so make your plans to pay a visit.