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
"A remarkable book. Cary Carson and his colleagues have transformed the way architectural history fieldwork is performed and in the process have also changed our understanding of the early architecture of the Chesapeake."
--Carter L. Hudgins, Clemson University
"The Chesapeake House is the fruit of a generation's labors and captures a revolution in the study of early American architecture. The authors adroitly combine field documentation with the most recent research as they explore the region's architecture--from the smallest details of construction and decoration to the broadest issues of social ritual and social prestige. This is the great work we have been waiting for."
--Dell Upton, University of California, Los Angeles
© 2012 The University of North Carolina Press
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