Completion of Historic Wetlands Conservation Project (Phase 1)

By Eric Becker, Manager of Landscapes, Horticulture, and Modern Facilities

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In 2013, an initiative began to evaluate and produce management plans for the preservation and conservation of some of the historic rice fields and ponds on Drayton Hall property.  Historically, rice production was likely occurring here sometime around the end of the 17th century. The use of the fields and ponds for this function continued until the redevelopment of the property by John Drayton in the 1740s. Over the years, maintenance and use of the entire pond system had greatly diminished and the natural environment crept back in, attempting to reclaim a long-lost ecosystem. Unfortunately, this system (shown above) was unhealthy, lacking in good water quality and control, overgrown and breeched impoundments, and infested with invasive aquatic and wetland plants.

Working with Folk Land Management, the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust evaluated and adopted a management plan for this historic system to re-establish the integrity and function of the impoundments; replace, add and increase the water flow capacity, pond depth and holding capacity; reduce and remove invasive plants; add habitat for colonial bird species while increasing the seasonal water surface and food sources for migrating waterfowl; and to better allow access and interpretive potential in the future (Phase II). Work on Phase I began in March of this year and finished in August; it was supported, in part, through funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, the Dominion Foundation and Gail and Parker Gilbert. The results of these partnerships speak for themselves in the images below.

With the challenge of the recent Hurricane Matthew, the system was not only put to the test, but finally provided the necessary water, assisting to refill the ponds. The impoundments held, and although overwhelmed by this major event, the water control systems functioned much better than last year’s more impactful flooding.

 

 

 

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.

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.

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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.

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.