From the Drayton Hall Collections: Elizabeth Bull Drayton’s Mourning Pendant

by Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist & Curator of Collections

The Drayton Hall collections span centuries and generations of Drayton family members. This month we are highlighting an object that is related to the John Drayton (1715-1779) family through marriage. Pictured below is the front (left) and reverse (right) of a mourning pendant honoring Elizabeth Bull Drayton (c.1716-1751).

morning pendant duo black

Elizabeth was married to John’s older brother Thomas Drayton (c. 1708-1760). Thomas and Elizabeth were married at St. Andrews Parish on December 30th, 1730 and during the course of their 21 years of marriage had ten children, only three of whom appear to have survived to adulthood. One of their children, William Drayton (1733-1790) became a chief justice and corresponded with both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. There is yet another interesting connection between the Drayton and Bull families in that Elizabeth Bull Drayton’s younger sister, Charlotta Bull (1719-1743) became John Drayton’s second wife; a connection most likely made through Thomas and Elizabeth. John and Charlotta were married on November 14, 1741 following the death of his first wife, Sarah Cattell Drayton, who was buried at St. Andrews Parish on December 24, 1740.

This mourning pendant most likely belonged to Thomas and Elizabeth’s daughter Mary Drayton Fenwick (1734-1806), who was 17 at the time of her mother’s death. Mourning jewelry such as pendants and brooches were most often worn by women upon the death of a loved one. The front of this pendant is a black stone, possibly obsidian, painted with gold leaf the inscription: ELIZ:, DRAYTON, OB 6, NOV. 1751, AET:35, meaning Elizabeth Drayton, Died November 6, 1751 at the age of 35. According to the records of St. Andrews Parish, November 6, 1751 was the date of Elizabeth’s burial at the church. The reverse of the pendant contains a beveled piece of leaded glass covering a plait of finely woven blonde hair belonging to Elizabeth Bull Drayton. It is clear from the wear pattern of the loop at the top of the pendant that this object was well worn. Many thanks to Grahame Long, Chief Curator at the Charleston Museum, for his knowledge pertaining to mourning jewelry and assistance regarding this object.

Drayton Hall Museum Collection, NT 85.1, Measures: 7/8”x1/2”. Gift of Mr. Peter Barratt.

From Historic Caretaker’s House to Interpretive Exhibit: Illustrating the Lives of African Americans at Drayton Hall

by Cameron Moon, Preservation Coordinator, the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

As work begins on the new visitor center, preparations to repurpose the historic caretaker’s house into an interpretive exhibit are underway. While the postbellum period and the 20th century are not periods of primary significance at Drayton Hall, these years were pivotal for the preservation of the property. Phosphate mining became the major industry in Charleston after the Civil War, relying on the labor of freedmen who remained in the area after Emancipation.

Drayton Hall was first leased to a mining company in 1866, and tenant housing was subsequently built on the property to house the miners and their families. These families formed a community during Reconstruction, and many of them remained on the property through the first half of the 20th century, caring for the landscape and the main house while the Drayton family was gone. As we revisit our interpretation of the site with the construction of new facilities, our primary goal is to interpret a complete story of Drayton Hall, striving to illustrate the lives of the enslaved people, women, and African Americans.

Unlike the colonial and antebellum periods where documentation of the enslaved workforce is scarce, evidence of the postbellum African American community is available through census records, oral histories, photographs, leases, maps, and architectural remains. We plan to use the caretaker’s house to interpret the postbellum period and the 20th century at Drayton Hall, allowing us to exhibit this documentary evidence for the first time to interpret the lives of the people who lived at Drayton Hall from the 1860s until the 1940s.

Old Nancy Notes in front of pole fence

Old Nancy Notes, Drayton Family Servant, undated. Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

One of the residents of Drayton Hall during this period was Nancy Notes (referred to as “Nanny” by Richmond Bowens). According to Bowens, she worked as a nurse for the Drayton children, Charles Henry II, Charlotta, and Bessie, in the early 20th century. It is possible that Nancy Notes was enslaved by the Draytons. The name “Nanny” appears on an inventory of slaves from c.1857. The name of Nancy Notes’ husband on the 1880 U.S. Census, Quash, is also listed on this inventory. While further research may verify if Nancy Notes and “Nanny” are the same person, her position as a nurse for the Drayton children suggests she had an existing relationship with the Drayton family prior to living on the property after Emancipation.

Diana Roberts, Drayton Hall servant

Diana Roberts, Drayton Family Servant, undated. Courtesy of the South Carolina Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Another woman we believe lived at Drayton Hall during this time was Diana Roberts. According to Richmond Bowens, she lived in one of the few identifiable houses along MacBeth Road today, referred to as the Roberts/McKeever House. It was a two-room framed house with an end chimney, brick piers and shingle roof. Diana does not show up on any census records from 1870-1940. However, a photograph labeled “Diana Roberts, Drayton Family Servants” exists in a collection of Drayton Hall photographs housed at the South Caroliniana Library. In the photograph, she stands at a wooden gate in front of a framed house, which matches the description Bowens gave of houses along MacBeth Road. The house behind her also matches the architectural remains of the Roberts/McKeever House on MacBeth Road today. The end chimney survives, as do the brick piers and other wooden framing elements. Further investigation will help us learn more about Nancy Notes, Diana Roberts, and the African American community that lived at Drayton Hall after the Civil War through the first half of the twentieth century.

We are excited to share this ongoing research with visitors, as this period of time was pivotal for the preservation of Drayton Hall, and it is a story that has often been left untold, until now.

Camerodrayton_hs_06n Moon is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and a minor in Anthropology. Her honors thesis chronicled the adaptive reuse of the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street and its relationship with the surrounding neighborhood. Before joining the DHPT staff in September 2014, she worked for Edgewood Builders, where she learned construction, preservation and restoration techniques at Medway Plantation and houses in the historic district. Cameron is currently working on ongoing Drayton Hall conservation projects as well as converting the museum shop, housed in the former caretaker’s house, into an interpretive museum space.

 

The Past & Future of Drayton Hall

 

Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program Presents The First in the Spring 2017 Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecture Series

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 – College of Charleston — Addlestone 227 — 5:00pm

Carter-Hudgins-headshot-2013-resized-for-web-small-cropped-336x377

Guest Speaker Carter C. Hudgins, President & CEO, The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

 

Within studies of American architecture and material culture, Drayton Hall (c.1738) is regarded as an icon of colonial identity that reflects an intimate connection to popular European design, sophisticated craftsmanship, and the wealth of South Carolina’s plantation economy. Complementing Drayton Hall’s architecture is a remarkable collection of surviving furniture, ceramics, artwork and artifacts that exhibit distinctive patterns of 18th century consumption, taste and intellect.

Drawing from surviving resources, this presentation will explore the 18th century formation of Drayton Hall and the values that led to its survival. This will be followed by a discussion of Drayton Hall’s future, including a vision to transform the site by improving the visitor experience and expanding our stewardship of the past.

claw-flyer-test2

 

 

 

 

What Is It?

 

 

by Corey Heyward, Wexler Curatorial Fellow

The two objects seen here are broken fragments of tobacco pipes. Made of kaolin clay, pipes were imported from England and were a common accessory during early America. They easily break and therefore are rarely recovered from archaeological sites in one piece. However, even with the smaller fragments, we can still learn a great deal.

These two examples both exhibit maker’s marks, consisting of the maker’s initials, impressed onto the pipe bowl by the manufacturer. The bowls appear to be stamped and impressed with the initials “TD,” which was a common mark throughout the colonial period and into the 19th century.

“TD” likely refers to either Thomas Dormer (1748-1770), who was a pipe maker in London by 1763, or the Bristol pipe maker Thomas Dennis (1734-1781). American-made pipes with the mark “TD” were later manufactured in the 19th century, however we used stem bore measurements, which correspond to production dates, to confirm that at least one of these pipes was made likely around 1720-1750.

 

dscn4140Corey Heyward, the Wexler Curatorial Fellow, first interned in Drayton Hall’s Preservation Department in the fall of 2011 during her sophomore year at the College of Charleston. After completing her junior year abroad at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Corey returned to Drayton Hall during her senior year to write her bachelor’s honor essay on the site’s delft tiles. Her in-depth research provided new information about their manufacturing dates and origins,  the specific decorative patterns and their possible locations throughout Drayton Hall. Corey completed her M.A. in Anthropology, specializing in Archaeology and Museum Training, at George Washington University. From the beginning of her graduate work in 2014, she also interned in the archaeology laboratory at George Washington’s Mount Vernon where she was trained to use DAACS, assisted in archaeological fieldwork and learned to produce high quality archaeological photographs.

The Wexler Curatorial Fellowship is a two-year, full-time fellowship position generously funded by Deborah and Peter Wexler. The Fellowship helps catalog the Drayton Hall archaeological collection using the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) under the  direction of Archaeologist and Curator of Collections, Sarah Stroud Clarke.

 

 

 

 

 

Trish Smith to Give Public Lecture on Digital Restoration at Drayton Hall

3d-before_after

Digital Restoration:
Marrying Tradition & Innovation at Drayton Hall

presented by

Trish Lowe Smith
Curator of Historic Architectural Resources
Drayton Hall

Thursday, September 29 at 7:00 pm
College of Charleston
Simons Center for the Arts, Room 309
54 St. Philip Street

Free and open to the public.

bookcase

Trish Smith’s latest work includes a 3D rendering of Drayton Hall’s Withdrawing Room with a c. 1740’s desk and bookcase from the Drayton Collection.

Learn MORE about the Digital Restoration of Drayton Hall

Trish_Headshot - resized for web Patricia “Trish” Lowe Smith is the Curator of Historic Architectural Resources at Drayton Hall. After graduating with a B.A. in Art History from the University of South Carolina Honors College, Smith received her M.S. from the Clemson University and College of Charleston joint graduate program in Historic Preservation. Smith came to Drayton Hall in 2010 as a Wood Family Fellow, and joined the staff permanently upon completion of her fellowship. In 2013, Smith was awarded a residential fellowship at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Digital History Center to study the application of 3D visualization technology for the documentation and interpretation of cultural heritage sites. During her tenure at Drayton Hall she has assembled the site’s first preservation archive, carried out several architectural conservation projects, launched a digital restoration of Drayton Hall, and is currently managing the rehabilitation of Drayton Hall’s iconic portico.

Drayton Hall’s Collections Objects in New Exhibit

Charles Drayton (1743-1820). Artist unknown. ca. 1760. Watercolor on ivory, supported by burnished bezel case with hanging loop and mounted brooch pin. Drayton Hall Museum Collection, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Gift of Mr. Charles H. Drayton, III. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Russell Buskirk.

Charles Drayton (1743-1820). Artist unknown. ca. 1760. Watercolor on ivory, supported by burnished bezel case with hanging loop and mounted brooch pin. Drayton Hall Museum Collection, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Gift of Mr. Charles H. Drayton, III. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Russell Buskirk.

By Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist + Curator of Collections

A group of objects from the Drayton Hall Museum and Archaeological Collections are on their way to The Society of The Four Arts in Palm Beach, FL, to be part of the exhibition An Eye for Opulence: Charleston through the Lens of the Rivers Collection at the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery, November 21, 2015 through January 10, 2016 (opening weekend November 20-22, 2015). The exhibit features the private collection of John M. Rivers, Jr., as well as objects from the Gibbes Museum of Art, Historic Charleston Foundation, The Charleston Museum, and Drayton Hall.

See images from Opening Night here.

Drayton Hall is pleased to be part of this wonderful group of institutions bringing together key elements of Charleston’s past through surviving material culture. Drayton Hall represents the earliest surviving colonial estate in Charleston, South Carolina, and the objects on loan to the Four Arts illustrate the great diversity in the collections found at Drayton Hall. Included are Chinese-export porcelains original to John Drayton’s (1715-1779) ownership of the house, personal items belonging to Charles Drayton (1743-1820), and objects made by enslaved African Americans.

One of the objects, rarely seen by the public, is the exquisite miniature portrait of Charles Drayton (1743-1820) shown above. Painted c. 1760 when Charles was a young gentleman, possibly around the time he was preparing to further his studies in England.

The archaeological collection at Drayton Hall illustrates the many renditions of Chinese-export porcelains that John Drayton (1715-1779) utilized during his lifetime. This nearly intact octagonal saucer, shown below, may represent porcelain purchased in celebration of one of his first two marriages. John Drayton married four times during the course of his life, his first two wives both succumbed to death as the result of childbirth; Sarah Cattell in 1740 and Charlotte Bull (Charles Drayton’s mother) in 1743 just days after Charles’ birth.

Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1740. Hard-paste porcelain with hand-painted underglaze cobalt blue decoration. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection. Photograph by Mr. Russell Buskirk.

Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1740. Hard-paste porcelain with hand-painted underglaze cobalt blue decoration. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection. Photograph by Mr. Russell Buskirk.

Colonoware is a type of low-fired earthenware pottery that was created by enslaved African and Native Americans in colonial North America. Shown below, this Colonoware sherd found at Drayton Hall is decorated with a rare example of incised Latin alphabet characters.

South Carolina, possibly the Charleston area, mid-to late 18th century. Low-fired earthenware with incised initials MHD, possibly for Maria Henrietta Drayton (1783-1862), daughter of Charles Drayton. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection.

South Carolina, possibly the Charleston area, mid-to late 18th century. Low-fired earthenware with incised initials MHD, possibly for Maria Henrietta Drayton (1783-1862), daughter of Charles Drayton. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection.

We hope you’ll join us in Palm Beach for this fascinating exhibition of over 100 objects from Charleston’s Golden Era.

Sarah Stroud Clarke headshot 2013

Sarah Stroud Clarke is the Archaeologist + Curator of Collections at Drayton Hall, overseeing the archaeological laboratory and recent excavations of the Drayton Hall property and was the 2007 Drayton Hall Wood Family Fellow. She is concurrently working on her PhD in Anthropology at Syracuse University which focuses on the “pre-Drayton” occupation of the property from 1680-1735.

The Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Gallery admission is $5; no charge for Four Arts members and children 14 and younger. Click here for more on the exhibit.

The Society of the Four Arts was founded in 1936 to offer quality cultural programming to the growing resort community of Palm Beach. Each season, The Four Arts offers a dynamic lineup of cultural programing, including notable speakers, concerts, films, educational programs, and art exhibitions. The campus is home to beautiful sculpture and botanical gardens, a library and children’s library, and a state-of-the art educational facility. The Four Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity and all programs are open to the public.

“Writing Drayton Hall’s Next Chapter” by Robert Behre

Portico by Robert Behre staff

Drayton Hall’s projecting double portico facing S.C. Highway 61 is considered the front of the house and is perhaps its most iconic feature. The renovation work, seen above, is expected to be done by year’s end. ROBERT BEHRE/STAFF

Great article in the Post & Courier by columnist Robert Behre on our new President and CEO Carter C. Hudgins, PhD., and Drayton Hall’s upcoming plans, including a new facility with exhibit space for many of the site’s collections objects and archaeological artifacts and a new nature trail around its historic rice ponds.

Post and Courier Online

Writing Drayton Hall’s Next Chapter by Robert Behre – Post and Courier – pdf

Read the transcript here:

Post and Courier – October 31, 2015

Writing Drayton Hall’s Next Chapter

By Robert Behre

It would not be inaccurate to say Carter C. Hudgins began his career at Drayton Hall by mowing the grass many years ago and now he is outstanding in his field.

Hudgins, who followed his father’s footsteps into a career of preservation, recently became president and CEO of the iconic Lowcountry house museum and one of South Carolina’s most famous and enduring works of architecture.

And he says the real change there is still to come.

Hudgins is taking the reins at a pivotal time as the site begins a new life, one directed by a local board, the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, rather than by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has given up control but still retains ownership.

He is quick to detail the plans, which include more staff, new buildings and a continued commitment to preserving and interpreting the mid-18th century house and its grounds.

“We are a world-class site,” he says. “We want a world-class engagement with the public.”

No, there are no plans to put furniture in the grand main house or restore it back to its original 1750 appearance.

But the trust expects to begin construction next year on a new building project that not only will handle the routine functions of a welcome center, gift shop and restrooms but will eventually display many of the furnishings and artifacts connected to the Drayton family and the home they built.

“We are actively acquiring objects,” Hudgins says. “We want to be able to show what was in the house, but not with the goal of refurnishing it.”

Instead, the goal is to expand visitors’ experiences without placing further wear and tear on the historic house itself.

Preservation is challenging here because the house is open to the public, and some 60,000 people a year visit it. That’s more feet and weight than most houses are designed for.

Balancing public access and preservation is the crux of Drayton Hall’s mission, and the new building will help.

Drayton Hall already has plenty of items to put in it. Its collection includes more than one million archaeological artifacts and several hundred individual other objects, including dozens of pieces of furniture, one of which is considered perhaps the finest ever produced in Colonial America.

The grounds also will get work soon, with plans to drain the ponds, trim vegetation from their banks and build a new nature trail around them.

Hudgins says Drayton Hall is working with Ducks Unlimited to make sure this work respects wildlife, not just history.

The new attention to Drayton Hall comes at an auspicious time, as there is a growing realization of the importance of how the history and architecture of the city of Charleston blends into the history and landscape of its surrounding plantations.

This interdependence is highlighted in the Charleston World Heritage’s efforts to get the Lowcountry listed as a world heritage site, the highest such designation possible.

The coalition’s new statement on Charleston’s significance begins, “The plantation culture of Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry represents an exceptional example of human manipulation of land to exploit natural resources and create a distinct social and economic system that infuenced the geo-cultural region from the late 17th into the late 19th centuries.”

That might sound a bit fancy and academic, but it really boils down to this: Preserving buildings and landscapes like Drayton Hall is every bit as critical as preservation downtown.

Reach Robert Behre at (843) 937-5771 or at twitter.com/RobertFBehre.

Job Announcement: Wexler-Funded Curatorial Fellow

Colonoware-photo-courtesy-CWF-1020x799

Circa 1740 Colonoware cooking pot created by enslaved people and used at Drayton Hall. Photo credit: Colonial Williamsburg

Under the supervision of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Archaeologist + Curator of Collections, the Wexler-Funded Curatorial Fellow (WFCF) is responsible for generating high-quality digital data on archaeological artifacts, excavation contexts, and site plans, with the use of detailed classification, measurement, digitizing, and coding protocols developed by the Monticello Archaeology Lab and the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). The WFCF is responsible for cataloging the legacy archaeological collection at Drayton Hall in order to contribute to a greater understanding of the material culture of the past inhabitants of the Drayton Hall property. The fellowship is a funded position with funding expected to last for approximately 24 months.

Duties

  • Mastery of DAACS protocols and data structures for artifacts and context data and their instantiation in the DAACS database.
  • Expertise in the material culture of the early-modern Atlantic world, especially ceramics and a basic understanding of stratigraphy, soils, sediments, archaeological survey and excavation techniques.
  • Knowledge of current scholary literature in historical archaeology.
  • Ability to communicate effectively through writing, informal tours, and professional presentations. Fellow is expected to work with supervisor to present results at professional conferences and to communicate with Deborah and Peter Wexler on the status and progress of the fellowship.
  • Excellent organizational skills with extreme attention to detail and diligent and patient work practices.
  • Be a team player and be able to lead, follow, and/or support colleagues in a tactful, positive way.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in anthropology or related discipline, preferably with a concentration in archaeology.
  • Graduate degree in anthropology.
  • Previous DAACS training by the Monticello/DAACS staff a plus.
  • A minimum of two years’ experience in archaeological research.
  • Must have strong oral and written communication skills.

Position Details

  • Department: Preservation
  • Reports To: Archaeologist + Curator of Collections
  • FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
  • Employment Status: Full Time

Please send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references who can support the applicant’s ability to perform the duties described above, to:
Drayton Hall Preservation Trust
Attn: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist + Curator of Collections
3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Or you may email your application materials to sstroudclarke@draytonhall.org
No phone calls, please.
The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust is an equal opportunity employer.

“China of the Most Fashionable Sort” with Suzanne Hood

Suzanne Hood in Chinese Porcelain exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg.

Suzanne Hood in her Chinese Porcelain exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg.

The Drayton Hall 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series Presents Suzanne F. Hood and China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America

October 15th at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC at 6:30pm

Suzanne Findlen Hood is the curator of ceramics and glass at Colonial Williamsburg. Her research focuses on ceramics owned and used in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America with a particular emphasis on archaeological ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, salt-glazed stoneware, and British pottery. Her most recent exhibition, China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, is currently on view at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Colonial Williamsburg. As part of Drayton Hall’s 2016 Distinguished Speakers Series, Ms. Hood’s presentation of the same title will show how a decorative arts perspective broadens the stories archaeology can tell by highlighting one of the largest groups of artifacts recovered from Colonial America archaeological sites: Chinese Export Porcelain.

First crossing the Atlantic with the settlers at Jamestown, this porcelain was a valuable commodity that served not only as a symbol of the society the settlers had left behind, but of the wealth and status of those who owned them. Using archaeological evidence, Ms. Hood will bring complexity and nuance to the curatorial understanding of the Chinese porcelain that was present in the colonial South. Within this context, her presentation on October 15th will include images of Charlestonian examples of pre-Drayton and Drayton owned pieces, which are now housed in the Drayton Hall Archaeological and Museum Collections as well as private collections. Also, objects from the Drayton Hall Collections that correspond with Ms. Hood’s presentation will be on display in a small pop-up exhibit.

Ms. Hood holds a B.A. in history from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and an M.A. from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and the University of Delaware. Prior to her arrival at Colonial Williamsburg in 2002, she was employed at The Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is co-author with Janine Skerry of Salt-Glazed Stoneware in Early America, winner of the American Ceramic Circle Book Award for 2009.

The Fall 2015 issue of Charleston Style & Design features a thoughtful interview with Ms. Hood in advance of her presentation — don’t miss it!  

In the meantime, please enjoy these images from her curated exhibit:

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1. Teacup (partially reconstructed), Jingdezhen, China, 1685–1710, hard-paste porcelain with underglaze blue. Excavated from the site of the Governor’s Palace.

This teacup, one of a pair recovered from the site of the Governor’s Palace, was likely owned by Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood, who served in Virginia from 1710 until 1722. In 1716, he was the first to reside in the Governor’s Palace. These teacups are ornamented over the exterior surface with a simplified version of the Sanskrit character “om,” which also appears on the bottom of the interior. Sanskrit, a liturgical language used in Hinduism and Buddhism, appears on a number of Chinese porcelains produced for over three centuries in Southeast Asia and India. The design can be read like a prayer wheel; as the bowl is rotated, the prayer is released. Despite their apparent lack of connection to a Western audience, sherds from a similar bowl were excavated at Santa Elena, on Parris Island, South Carolina, from a 16th-century colonial Spanish settlement. Two almost identical teacups were recovered from two 17th-century sites: Jamestown Island, and Bacon’s Castle in Surrey, Virginia. It seems unlikely that North American consumers knew of the connection between the decoration on their teacups and eastern religious practices.

Yonge Beakers*

2. Yonge Beakers.* Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1720, hard-paste porcelain with underglaze blue. Drayton Hall, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The fascination with Chinese porcelain was as strong among the Lowcountry elite as it was with the British gentry. Trade laws of the day mandated that Chinese and other imported goods be moved through a British port before their re-shipment to America, but the resulting additional cost did not dissuade affluent colonists. South Carolina planter and political figure Francis Yonge may have been the first owner of these Chinese export beakers. Although Yonge resided in an Ashley River house of modest size, he went to England several times on the colony’s business. Both his travels and his wealth gave him access to such luxury goods.

Beakers were likely used for the consumption of hot beverages such as chocolate. The form was popular in the early 18th century, but soon gave way to the shorter cups associated with tea and coffee. As a result, beakers are seldom encountered on American archaeological sites.

*Fragments of two vessels from the same set are mounted to resemble a single beaker.

 

04_Teacup and Saucer

3. Teacup and Saucer, Jingdezhen, China, 1722-1750, hard-paste porcelain. Drayton Hall, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

These delicate tea wares were probably part of the first generation furnishings at Drayton Hall Plantation, which was finished in the late 1740s. The vessels are finely potted and of the higher quality more commonly associated with Chinese porcelains destined for the English and Continental European markets. Although not unknown in colonial America, Chinese porcelain with such minutely detailed painting was relatively rare. The superiority of these goods is in tune with period observations about the luxurious furnishings seen in the homes of the Low Country’s leading citizens.

These pieces were part of a larger group of cups and saucers that may have included a matching teapot. However, it is just as likely that they were used with a teapot made of silver, white salt-glazed stoneware, or another material. Mixing different wares was quite acceptable, even in gentry settings.

08_Saucer Dish

4. Saucer Dish, Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1750, hard-paste porcelain with underglaze blue. Museum Purchase, The Buddy Taub Foundation, Dennis A. Roach and Jill Roach Directors, 2013-29.

Porcelain decorated with cobalt blue had been popular since the 14th century when the Chinese first developed it. The main source of cobalt at that time was Persia, where there was a thriving earthenware industry. Because cobalt can be fired to a very high temperature in the kiln without burning off the dish, it had an economic as well as an aesthetic advantage: cobalt-decorated pieces of porcelain were not only beautiful, they also did not have to undergo multiple firings.

Blue-decorated porcelain appears archaeologically on many colonial sites. This fine example features a water buffalo, a popular design in colonial Virginia of which variations have been found on numerous sites. A dish with similar decoration, but rendered in more elaborate opaque enamels, was owned by Miles Brewton of Charleston, South Carolina.

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5. Dish, Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1736, hard-paste porcelain with opaque enamels. Museum Purchase, Wesley and Elise H. Wright in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Hofheimer II and in honor of John C. Austin, 2013-57.

This dish exactly matches one owned by the Lee family of Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Stratford was built in the late 1730s, which corresponds to the date of this piece. The example recovered at Stratford was found in a rat’s nest in a wall of the house during 20th-century restoration. This pattern was popular on export porcelain in this color palette as well as in translucent enamels called “Imari.” Imari versions have been found archaeologically in Williamsburg and are also known in the Gore and Cargill families of Massachusetts. The design depicts two crabs holding a Chinese coin between them. The colonists who dined off of these wares probably did not know that, to a Chinese audience, the design indicated wishes for prosperity and financial success.

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6. Cream jug, Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1735, hard-paste porcelain with translucent enamels. Museum Purchase, 1964-335.

As the market for porcelain grew in Europe, potters in China began to produce more wares specifically based on Western shapes. This cream jug directly relates to silver prototypes, while the decoration continues to be Asian in inspiration. This piece descended in the Glen-Sanders family. It may have been owned by Deborah Glen and her husband John Sanders who married on December 6, 1739. Both the Glen and Saunders families were prominent in colonial New York. The cream jug was most likely used at the family home, Scotia, near what is now Schenectady.

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China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. (View 1)

06_China of the Most Fashionable Sort view2

China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. (View 2)

07_China of the Most Fashionable Sort view3

China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. (View 3)

To learn more about the exhibit and the art museums of Colonial Williamsburg, please follow these links:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/do/art-museums/wallace-museum/chinese-porcelain/

www.history.org/history/museums/

www.facebook.com/ArtMuseumsofCWF

 

China of the Most Fashionable Sort – October 15th  South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting ST., Charleston, SC

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentation starts promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.

Sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.http://francismarionhotel.com/

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Preserving the Past, Preparing the Future: Celebrating Ten Years of Wood Family Fellows

 The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stephen Wood photo black and white

Stephen Wood at Drayton Hall, 1980

Presented by Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D., Acting President and Executive Director, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

One of the most significant contributions to the initiatives of Drayton Hall has been the establishment of the Wood Family Fellowship, which was created by Anthony C. “Tony” Wood in 2005 in honor of his parents Leonard and Tanya Wood, and in memory of his brother Stephen Wood.

In August 1980, Stephen was a young preservationist who was repairing Drayton Hall’s main house as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Restoration Workshop when the scaffolding that he was on gave way. He fell to the ground below and later that day succumbed to his injuries. Some 24 years later, misfortune revisited the family as the lives of Tony’s parents Leonard and Tanya, who reared their children on the lessons of history and the value of preservation, were claimed by a car accident while traveling east of their home in Charleston, Illinois.

To further the legacy of his brother and parents in a manner that would build on the Wood family’s values and dedication to education and historic preservation, Tony and his husband, Anthony Badalamenti, established the Wood Family Fellowship at Drayton Hall in 2005. By design, the Fellowship is intended to foster the care and research of Drayton Hall while providing guidance and inspiration to rising scholars in the fields of history, historic preservation, anthropology, decorative arts, and architectural history.

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

Such an experience continues to lend to the advancement of Drayton Hall as past Fellows Carter C. Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist & Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. These three former Fellows will join Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Board Member Anthony C. Wood to celebrate ten years of success with an eye towards the future of the program.

This event is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Members in the Friends of Drayton Hall will find more about the history and impact of the Wood Family Fellowship in the Spring/Summer 2015 (Vol 34, No 1) edition of their members newsletter, Interiors.