Every Piece Has a Story


Our Gracious Hosts

Several weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit the home of a friend. I had understood  that he had a significant collection of period furniture, but we were unprepared for what we saw.  After his wife treated us to a cup of coffee, fresh fruit and a delicious piece of sweet bread we started to explore. The walnut drop leaf table in the dining room had rails and legs very similar to tables attributed to the Anthony Hay shop in Williamsburg.


A Williamsburg Table?

“And those side chairs next to it. Aren’t they from the ‘Walker school'”.


Walker Side Chair

We weren’t out of the dining room yet and there were still more Virginia pieces. On the other side of the dining table stood a Thomas Miller side chair from Fredericksburg, Virginia. I replicated a more ornate version of the same chair more than twenty years ago. I was really starting to feel at home.


Miller Side Chair

We moved into the living room.  More surprises to come. Two  beautiful Philadelphia side chairs with shell carved crest rails and trifid feet. The tilt top table between the chairs looked familiar; our host confirmed that it was Norfolk, Virginia.


Norfolk Tilt Top and Philadelphia Chair


On the other side of the room stood another very familiar piece. If you have ever been by our shop in Colonial Williamsburg you’ve seen it just inside the door, a John Seldon chest of drawers. The original that we replicated seventeen years ago has been at Shirley Plantation since the 1770’s, and here was another almost identical to it. This case piece has the same pull out under the top with scratched cock bead, the same progression of drawer heights with applied cock bead, the same drawer construction, etc., etc.. I felt like I was back in Colonial Williamsburg.


John Seldon Chest of Drawers

We all enjoyed the exploration.  Here, Brian is looking at a nineteenth century New York sewing table, and Bill and Ted are inspecting an early stretcher base table.



Bill and Ted


New York Sewing Table

You might have recognized the corner cupboard at the beginning of the blog.  That was the first of several eastern shore pieces that we had the opportunity to see.


Inside the Eastern Shore Corner Cupboard


The Paint History of Another Eastern Shore Piece


Paneled Six Board Chest

After a delicious lunch served by our gracious hostess, there was more to come. Being in the business of replicating eighteenth century work, we were especially interested in period tools.


There were examples of just about every category of woodworking tool,

Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

Wedge arm Plough

Wedge arm Plough





Wooden Brace

Wooden Brace

and some that completely stumped us. Any ideas?


What is it?

There was much more, but I’ve got to stop somewhere. Museum collections are just a big tip of the iceberg. Get out there and explore period homes, private collections, auctions. You never know what you will find.  For me, it’s the story behind the pieces that I find so interesting. Material culture is not dead. Every piece has a story!



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1 Response to Every Piece Has a Story

  1. Kaare that looks like a visit full of surprises. Makes you wonder how many other piece made at the time are sitting in houses you can only imagine. Things you find in homes are always a surprise to me. I can only hope some things I have made will be cherished and cared for like these.

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