Browsing John Drayton’s Library: Architecture Books

John Drayton Library

This listing from Charles Drayton’s journal is likely an inventory of his father John Drayton’s library.

An individual’s personal library has the potential to reveal significant information about their character, interests, worldview, and education. Such is certainly the case at Drayton Hall where research has identified what is likely a list of the titles that once graced the bookshelves of John Drayton (c.1715-1779), the builder of Drayton Hall. Written by son Charles Drayton (1743-1820), such a list contains more than 440 titles published before or during John Drayton’s lifetime, indicating his intellectual pursuits and attention to the ideals of the enlightenment.

Not surprisingly, the list of titles includes nine architectural pattern books that were undoubtedly utilized to construct Drayton Hall and written by English neopalladian designers including Colin Campbell, James Gibbs, Isaac Ware, William Salmon, William Halfpenny, John Evelyn, and Batty Langley. Additional areas of interest include natural history, astronomy, landscape design, horticulture, dance, and even gastronomy. As research continues to investigate the titles of Drayton’s library, we anticipate that an increased understanding will be brought to Drayton, his educational opportunities, and academic pursuits.

This month, we are sharing our latest research on John Drayton’s library with a series of posts featuring some of the volumes he would have owned and read.

 

Architecture Books

 

  Plate 91, A Book of Architecture, by James Gibbs, published in 1728. This mantel and overmantel appear in the northwest chamber on the first floor of Drayton Hall.


Plate 91, A Book of Architecture, by James Gibbs, published in 1728. This mantel and overmantel appear in the northwest chamber on the first floor of Drayton Hall.

Given that Drayton Hall is widely considered to be the earliest and finest example of Palladian architecture in the United States, one might expect the design of such a remarkable edifice to be attributed to a famous architect. However, research indicates that the architect of Drayton Hall was very likely John Drayton (d. 1779) himself. Several popular 18th century architecture books are listed among the volumes that likely comprised the personal library of John Drayton. Such books were often consulted by wealthy intellectuals who wished to direct the construction of their estates. Among the architectural elements in Drayton Hall that are clearly attributable to these books are two classically-inspired overmantels that appear in William Kent’s, Designs of Inigo Jones, and James Gibbs’ A Book of Architecture. Considering the extravagant cost of acquiring such volumes and the education necessary to utilize them, the architectural books in John Drayton’s library offer valuable insight into his wealth and intellect.

Browsing John Drayton’s Library: Horticulture Books

John Drayton LibraryAn individual’s personal library has the potential to reveal significant information about their character, interests, worldview, and education. Such is certainly the case at Drayton Hall where research has identified what is likely a list of the titles that once graced the bookshelves of John Drayton (c.1715-1779), the builder of Drayton Hall. Written by son Charles Drayton (1743-1820), such a list contains more than 440 titles published before or during John Drayton’s lifetime, indicating his intellectual pursuits and attention to the ideals of the enlightenment.

Not surprisingly, the list of titles includes nine architectural pattern books that were undoubtedly utilized to construct Drayton Hall. Additional areas of interest include natural history, astronomy, landscape design, horticulture, dance, and even gastronomy. As research continues to investigate the titles of Drayton’s library, we anticipate that an increased understanding will be brought to Drayton, his educational opportunities, and academic pursuits. ​

This month, we are sharing our latest research on John Drayton’s library with a series of posts featuring some of the volumes he would have owned and read.

A-11-009

Horticulture Books

Edited Switzer Hydraulicks 1729Included in this listing for John’s library are several important works that exhibit methods on growing food crops, but also works devoted to pleasurable pursuits in ornamental gardens and landscape design. The Gentleman’s Recreation: the Art of Gardening Improved (1717) by John Laurence is an early book that likely illustrates John’s interests in the extravagant leisure gardens and fountains of a country gentleman. General System of Hydrostaticks and Hydraulicks (1729) by Stephen Switzer addresses the mechanics of water pressurization for such embellishments. Philip Miller’s Gardeners Dictionary (1731) and Kalendar (1732) were popular guides for growing plants for consumption, medicine, and profit. The use of a calendar system simplified the task of when to plant, tend to, and harvest in simplified terms which most gardeners, including John, might utilize to great advantage.

Distinguished Speakers Series: Jill M. Lord to Speak on the Architecture of Colonial American Libraries

Fall Series Flyer

Wrapping up the inaugural year of the Distinguished Speakers Series, Drayton Hall is pleased to welcome architectural historian Dr. Jill M. Lord. Lord holds a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a MA in architectural history from the University of Virginia. She has taught art history at Hunter College and Brooklyn College. She has lectured at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in New York City, Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Salve Regina University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lord’s presentation, “Improvement of the Americas: The Architecture of Colonial American Libraries,” is sponsored by Stephen and Laura Gates. 

Held at South Carolina Society Hall in downtown Charleston, the series is free to the Friends of Drayton Hall and their guests (RSVP is not required), begins at 7:00 p.m. (doors open by 6:30 p.m.), and is followed by a dessert reception. Please contact Tara White, development events coordinator, at 843-769-2627 with questions or for information about sponsorship opportunities.

Latest Discoveries from Drayton Hall will be Featured at Breaking Ground and Building Bridges Symposium

Join us on Nov. 21 and 22 for Breaking Ground and Building Bridges, a symposium that brings together leading scholars and institutions to present new research on the material culture of the Carolina lowcountry. Speakers will discuss exciting initiatives and current research projects made possible by collaborative efforts among local institutions and scholars. Trish Smith, Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, is the first speaker at the symposium and will present “High Fidelity: The Digital Restoration of Drayton Hall” on Friday at 1:15 p.m. Dr. Carter Hudgins, Deputy Director of Drayton Hall, will share his latest research in “Putting the Pieces Together: Multidisciplinary Discoveries at Drayton Hall on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist and Curator of Collections, will present “The Accomplished Woman: Charlotte Drayton Manigault’s Artistic Legacy at Drayton Hall” alongside Lauren Northup, Collections Manager of Historic Charleston Foundation, at 11:30 a.m.

The symposium is sponsored by Historic Charleston Foundation, Drayton Hall, The Charleston Museum, and The Preservation Society of Charleston. All proceeds will benefit the sponsoring institutions. Symposium tickets are $100/person for the general public and free for students.

Browsing John Drayton’s Library: Cookbooks

An individual’s personal library has the potential to reveal significant information about their character, interests, worldview, and education. Such is certainly the case at Drayton Hall, where research has identified what is likely a list of the titles that once graced the bookshelves of John Drayton (c.1715-1779), the builder of Drayton Hall. Written by son Charles Drayton (1743-1820), such a list contains more than 440 titles published before or during John Drayton’s lifetime, indicating his intellectual pursuits and attention to the ideals of the enlightenment.

Not surprising, the list of titles includes nine architectural pattern books that were undoubtedly utilized to construct Drayton Hall. Additional areas of interest include natural history, astronomy, landscape design, horticulture, dance, and even gastronomy. As research continues to investigate the titles of Drayton’s library, we anticipate that an increased understanding will be brought to Drayton, his educational opportunities and academic pursuits. ​

This month, we are sharing our latest research on John Drayton’s library with a series of posts featuring some of the volumes he would have owned and read.

John Drayton Library

This listing from Charles Drayton’s journal is likely an inventory of his father John Drayton’s library.

Cookbooks

Edited 1280px-Art_of_Cookery_frontispieceAs this is the time of year to delve into the recipe files for our cherished family recipes, it is fun to note that John Drayton’s library also contained cookbooks. He owned both the 1736 edition of The Modern Cook: Containing Instructions for Preparing and Ordering Public Entertainments for the Tables of Princes by Vincent la Chapelle and the 1774 edition of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse. Ms. Glasse’s cookbook was a favorite among the English and English colonists alike having first been published in 1747 and then reprinted through the early 19th century. The two recipes below come from the 1774 edition and may have made their way onto a dining table in Drayton Hall. The first, A Carolina Rice Pudding, highlights South Carolina’s cash crop of the pre-Revolutionary colony and the second, To Stew a Turkey Brown, may provide a few pointers for your own Thanksgiving turkey this year—you may have been forgetting that all important anchovy! Bon appetite!

 

Carolina Rice Pudding

 

Stew a Turkey Brown


 

What is it?

Drayton Hall Artifact

This artifact was recovered from the south flanker well excavation in 1980. It is a very beautiful mid-eighteenth century sweetmeat glass with a honeycomb-molded bowl made from leaded glass. It very likely graced the tables of John Drayton during the last course of a meal when sweetmeats were served in addition to dried fruits and nuts.

Drayton Hall to Reach a National Audience at Past Forward

George McDanielDrayton Hall will be represented in three programs at Past Forward, the National Preservation Conference held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Savannah, Ga, November 11-14. Executive Director George W. McDaniel is the keynote speaker for the annual Historic Sites Luncheon and will be presenting “Making a Difference: Historic Sites and Their Communities.” Drawing examples from Drayton Hall and other National Trust sites including Cliveden, Montpelier, and President Lincoln’s Cottage, McDaniel will discuss how historic sites across the country are working to make their communities a better place through education, economic development, and preservation.

Catherine Braxton and Rebecca Campbell

McDaniel will also moderate “Preserving Our History, Telling Our Story,” a session with five descendants of Drayton Hall as participants: Catherine Braxton, Rebecca Campbell, Annie Brown Meyers, Charles Drayton, and Shelby Nelson. This session was selected since it can serve as a model for other historic sites and house museums, many of which have descendants, but who are not closely connected to them. “This is an opportunity for attendees of the conference to learn from the descendants and ask questions,” said McDaniel. As with most historic sites today, these descendants never lived here, but they have special memories and connections to this site, passed on from generation to generation, thanks in no small measure to its preservation. Toni Carrier, founding director of Lowcountry Africana and former Wood Family Fellow, will also be speaking at this session.

Trish SmithTrish Smith, Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, will present “Preservation is Smart,” a session that will explore the various ways preservation professionals use technology to save historic places. Smith will be speaking specifically about the innovative use of 3D visualization technology for the digital restoration of Drayton Hall, a practice that has already enhanced the interpretation of Drayton Hall and holds considerable promise for the future.

If You Go

Keynote Speech: “Making a Difference: Historic Sites and Their Communities”

Speaker: George W. McDaniel

Nov. 13 at noon


Learning Laboratory: “Preserving our History, Telling our Story”

Speakers: George McDaniel, Toni Carrier, Catherine Braxton, Rebecca Campbell, Annie Brown Meyers, Charles Drayton, and Shelby Nelson.

Nov. 13 4:30-5:45


Learning Laboratory: “Preservation is Smart”

Speakers: Trish Smith and Prashant Singh, CTO and Co-founder of Local Data

Nov. 14 10:30-11:45 

For more information on the National Preservation conference, click here. 

Dr. George W. McDaniel to Present on Whole Place Preservation

George McDanielDrayton Hall executive director Dr. George W. McDaniel will present Nov. 5 at “Looking Back, Looking Forward: New Directions in Historic Preservation,” a symposium sponsored by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. The symposium is held at their headquarters, Dumbarton House, in Georgetown, DC. Other speakers include Carol Cadou, senior vice president of Mount Vernon, and Tobin Malone, director of the Knox Museum in Thomaston, Maine.

In his presentation “Whole Place Preservation,” McDaniel will discuss a critical issue to visitors and historic sites across the nation–the preservation of viewsheds and environs from encroaching development. He will share examples of work done at Drayton Hall, Mount Vernon, and Monticello. McDaniel will also present segments from filmed oral histories of Drayton Hall’s last owner, Charles Drayton.

Click here for more information and to register. The symposium will include presentations, panel discussions, lunch, tours of Dumbarton House, and a wine and cheese reception.

Trish Smith to Present Digital Restoration of Drayton Hall at APT Conference

Trish Smith Using 21st century technology to digitally restore 18th century buildings is the mission of Drayton Hall’s Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, Trish Smith. Trish is traveling to Quebec City, Canada this week to deliver a paper at the annual meeting of the Association for Preservation Technology International. “High Fidelity: the Digital Restoration of Drayton Hall,” is the title of Smith’s presentation which will introduce preservation professionals from around the globe to the exciting work underway at our site. Next month, Smith will participate in a similar session titled “Preservation is Smart,” at the annual meeting of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Savannah, Georgia.

Check out Trish’s project to digitally restore Drayton Hall in the video below:

Update: Basement Window Project

By Cameron Moon, Preservation Coordinator

Drayton Hall Windows Before

Drayton Hall windows after

Before and after: the basement window sashes have all been installed and bring much needed light to the space.

This photograph was taken after a batten shutter was removed by our preservation staff from the basement in February 2013.

This photograph was taken after a batten shutter was removed by our preservation staff from the basement in February 2013.

After a slight delay, the newly milled window sashes have been installed in the basement. This week, Richard Marks Restorations, Inc. gave them a final coat of paint and left us with a significantly brighter basement. The main reason for installing these newly milled and glazed sash windows is to cast more natural light into the basement, allowing for more interpretation and education to take place there.  The impetus for this project began in February 2013 when Patricia Smith, Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, and Joseph Mester, former Preservation Technician, conducted a rehabilitation of a window in the northwest room of the basement. The window had been covered by a batten shutter, which was removed. After observing how much natural light the rehabilitated window allowed into the northwest room, the preservation team considered removing all of the batten shutters and installing sash windows to achieve the same effect throughout the basement. This was explained in a previous blog post published in May 2014.

Like the window rehabilitated in February 2013, all of the window frames in the basement are constructed to accommodate a stationary upper sash and a vertical sliding lower sash. In keeping with the philosophy that Drayton Hall be preserved as it was received from the Drayton family in 1974, no significant changes have been made to those frames to reinstall window sashes and remove the batten shutters.  If necessary, the shutters could be returned easily to the apertures without disrupting any historic fabric.

An example of a worn window stop in the basement of Drayton Hall.

An example of a worn window stop in the basement of Drayton Hall.

Once the preservation team decided to install sash windows throughout the basement, they turned to the Architectural Fragment Collection, which includes numerous window sashes they hoped to reuse in the existing window frames.  Unfortunately, the sashes were not the correct size, so they contracted millworkers of Richard Marks Restorations to craft 36 light sashes to resemble the windows installed in the 1870s with ½” muntins.  The new sashes are constructed in 19th century form to maintain continuity with the rest of the windows of the house.

While the new sashes are built in the 19th century fashion, they are clearly modern, not to be confused with the historic fabric of the frames and window stops. Some of the stops are well worn, while others are in good condition. Richard Marks Restorations left those historic stops in place, regardless of condition.  The new stops on the interior frames clearly differ from the historic stops on the bottom.

New and Historic Stops

This image shows the new stop with historic stops above and below.

The new window sashes make a dramatic difference in the visibility in the basement.  With the increase of natural light we can remove out of place electric lamps, previously needed to provide more light. More interpretive programs can take place in the basement, as all of the rooms are bright enough for visitors to see what surrounds them. Additionally, the new sashes better prevent rain from entering the basement and damaging the interior floors and plaster. We are very pleased with the work Richard Marks Restorations has completed for us, and look forward to the possibilities our newly lit basement will bring.

New Window Sashes in the Basement of Drayton Hall

The new window sashes make a dramatic difference in the basement by adding much needed light to the space.

Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy to Present “The Men Who Lost America”

Andrew O'ShaughnessyDrayton Hall is pleased to host Dr. Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy on October 16 as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series. O’Shaughnessy is the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and a Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has lectured widely to both scholarly and general audiences.  O’Shaughnessy’s book, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire, was recently award the 2014 George Washington Book Prize and the New York Historical Society’s American History Book Prize. His lecture, based on his award-winning book, promises to give a new perspective on the American Revolutionary War and will compel the audience to consider the war from a different point of view. Get a sneak peek of what O’Shaughnessy will be presenting in this short video produced by Monticello below:

Know Before You Go

All Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and are hosted at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, downtown Charleston.
Doors open by 6:30 p.m., seating is limited, and a dessert reception will follow. This program is free to Friends of Drayton Hall and their guests.