In My Opinion
Archeology has occupied a good chunk of my brain space recently. Antiques and archeological finds are in essence things that have been left behind: Time has moved on past them, yet they have survived – sometimes intentionally, sometimes randomly. This randomness is an interesting difference between them: With antiques, there’s always a selection process involved – someone has always decided what is, and what is not, worth preserving. Antiques are biased toward the best.
Buildings Archaeology: Deerfield The Archaeology of Wood
John Fiske and Robert Adam
Archaeology involves a close examination of remains: It is essentially the study of what’s left. Archaeologists are detectives – they find and decipher clues. In July, 2016, Historic Deerfield organized a symposium on Buildings Archaeology that taught us, among other things, what we might learn from the fragments that might remain from an otherwise destroyed building or in an existing one. We’ve chosen two of the sessions to summarize here: “Decoding Carpenters’ Tool Marks” by Robert Adam and “Decoding Building Chronology Through Fastener Analysis” by Tom Paske.
Buildings Archaeology: Architectural Clues to Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg
Barbara Miller Beem
Photos courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
For Matt Webster, director of the Department of Architectural Preservation at Colonial Williamsburg, there is one photograph that says it all. In the background is the George Wythe House, home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later headquarters for the reconstruction of Williamsburg, the Tidewater Virginia town once dubbed the “Pompeii of America.” In the foreground is an affable-looking man, his three-piece pinstriped suit a bit rumpled; his high starched collar appearing to rub into his neck. He holds a pipe in his left hand, a fedora hat in his right. This is The Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin.
A primer on collecting perfume bottles
Collecting perfume bottles is much like other collecting genres: It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Your heart races when you walk by that special opportunity and sometimes your wallet opens just far enough to bring that little beauty home. Perfume bottle collectors enjoy learning about the fascinating histories and intriguing designs of the bottles. We are a passionate bunch and every collection is unique and treasured. There are beautiful, incredible and affordable perfume bottles available in every category. It can be an expensive obsession, but it doesn’t have to be.
The House Where Time Stands Still
Charleston’s Drayton Hall
All photos courtesy of Drayton Hall Preservation Trust
When John Drayton took up residence at Drayton Hall in the early 1750s, his newly-constructed home was referenced in the South Carolina Gazette as nothing less than a “Palace and Gardens.” Today, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of Palladian architecture, and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. When the National Trust acquired the historic property from descendants of John Drayton in 1974, a decision was made to “preserve” the site. This action – unprecedented in its day – set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: It preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring the house to one specific period. Because it has never been modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, central heating or air conditioning, the main house remains unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to come through, and providing a unique view of life in one of America’s most opulent plantations
We had to replace our fence recently. I’d patched and staked the old post and rail fence for years, until it reached the point where I just couldn’t keep the poor old thing upright any longer. So we replaced it with a paled fence (or “picket fence” in today’s language).
Fencing has always been important in Ipswich. In 1635, the year after the town was incorporated, the town ruled that “All House lotts within the Town are to be fenced by the first of May and such as fail shall pay 2.s pr rodd beside the payne of doing it.”