Wood Working in the 18th Century Conference

January 12-15 and 16-19

The topic of the 2011 Working Wood in the 18th Century conference will be the influence of Asian design and products on eighteenth-century English and American furniture. We tend to think of these “Chinoiserie” pieces as having a very Oriental, often elaborate look, and no doubt, black japanned chests and chairs come to mind. But, in reality the influence of the exotic wares and art pouring into the western world through the China trade had a much larger and broader impact on the decorative arts. Today, we take many of these influences for granted, and we may even think of them as having originated in England, America, or western Europe. But, we owe everything from high-style “Queen Anne” chairs with curved crest rails and cabriole legs, to ball-and-claw feet, “Marlborough” legs, many forms of fretwork, clean and elegant tea tables and chests, ornaments freely inspired from nature, and even joinery techniques themselves to the growing knowledge (some accurate, some not) of the East and its material culture.

Guest cabinetmaker Phil Lowe will present the construction of a high-style, New England “Queen Anne” chair. Mack Headley, Kaare Loftheim, and Brian Weldy of the Hay Shop will build a tea table made by the Scott shop here in Williamsburg and an elaborate “Chippendale” armchair with a history of ownership by Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire. Ted Boscana of our Historic Trades joinery shop will construct a fretwork garden bench. Other presentations will include introductions to other furniture forms and caning. We hope also, though arrangements are still in process, to present sessions on traditional Chinese furniture making itself and on period lacquering and japanning.

Click HERE to make a reservation


About hemphillbrett

Floorcovering specialist
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