488 pp., 9 x 12, 150 color plates., 200 halftones, notes, index
Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg
2013 Book Award, Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians
For more than thirty years, the architectural research department at Colonial Williamsburg has engaged in comprehensive study of early buildings, landscapes, and social history in the Chesapeake region. Its painstaking work has transformed our understanding of building practices in the colonial and early national periods and thereby greatly enriched the experience of visiting historic sites. In this beautifully illustrated volume, a team of historians, curators, and conservators draw on their far-reaching knowledge of historic structures in Virginia and Maryland to illuminate the formation, development, and spread of one of the hallmark building traditions in American architecture.
The essays describe how building design, hardware, wall coverings, furniture, and even paint colors telegraphed social signals about the status of builders and owners and choreographed social interactions among everyone who lived or worked in gentry houses, modest farmsteads, and slave quarters. The analyses of materials, finishes, and carpentry work will fascinate old-house buffs, preservationists, and historians alike. The lavish color photography is a delight to behold, and the detailed catalogues of architectural elements provide a reliable guide to the form, style, and chronology of the region’s distinctive historic architecture.
Carl R. Lounsbury is senior architectural historian at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and teaches history at the College of William and Mary.
"[This] book transforms our understanding of Chesapeake region buildings . . . [It] should become an essential reference for anyone interested in early American architecture."
“The Chesapeake House is an important addition to the literature of the period and region and should be considered for both public and academic libraries.”
--Arts Libraries Society of North America
"This important volume. . . is richly illustrated with measured floor plans, paintings, and photographs. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers."
"Perhaps once in a generation there appears a published architectural history that achieves landmark status at the onset. The Chesapeake House deserves that status and more. . . . This work can truly be called a paradigm shift for how we should see and understand a significant regional development of American architecture."
--Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians 2013 Book Award
"An important handbook to curators, scholars, and students in the field. . . . It is a seminal work in the field and will be referred to for years to come."
“A tour de force of fieldwork, analysis, and synthesis, providing the most thorough and nuanced understanding of Chesapeake buildings available.”
--Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
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