Enfilade

West 86th, Fall–Winter 2014

Posted in journal articles by Editor on December 8, 2014

The eighteenth century in the current issue of West 86th:

West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 21 (Fall–Winter 2014).

Charles Alan Watkins, “The Tea Table’s Tale: Authenticity and Colonial Williamsburg’s Early Furniture Reproduction Program,” pp. 155–91.

The CW-8 Tea Table as it appeared in Kittinger’s 1940 catalogue Colonial Williamsburg Incorporated Approved Reproductions of Furniture by Kittinger Company.

The CW-8 Tea Table as it appeared in Kittinger’s 1940 catalogue Colonial Williamsburg Incorporated Approved Reproductions of Furniture by Kittinger Company.

In July 1936 Tomlinson of High Point, a mid-priced North Carolina furniture manufacturer, began a franchising and marketing concept called the Williamsburg Galleries that gained broad national acceptance in stores and among consumers. Outraged by Tomlinson’s actions and unwilling to abandon the retail market to those it felt were interlopers, Colonial Williamsburg set up a subsidiary corporation, Williamsburg Craftsmen, Inc., that licensed manufacturers to create reproductions of objects owned by the Restoration. Furniture was the most important part of the plan, and Williamsburg licensed the Kittinger Company of Buffalo, New York, as the manufacturer. Selected department stores were encouraged to build sales spaces that were period replicas of Raleigh Tavern rooms, and craft shops were developed in the historic area to promote the work of the various manufacturers. Because a number of stores sold both Tomlinson and Kittinger products, Williamsburg developed the concept of ‘authenticity’ to distinguish the copies being made by Kittinger from Tomlinson’s generic eighteenth-century adaptations. Virtually handmade, said the Restoration, these Kittinger pieces were line-by-line reproductions, inside and out, of originals on display in Williamsburg, Virginia. Regardless of what Colonial Williamsburg said and believed, however, recent examination of individual pieces of Kittinger furniture made for the Restoration reveals that the New York factory relied far more on modern machine production methods than on craft methods of the eighteenth century.

Charles Alan Watkins holds a PhD in American cultural history and museum studies from the University of Delaware. Until his recent retirement from teaching, he was professor and coordinator of Salve Regina University’s Cultural and Historic Preservation Program in Newport, Rhode Island, and, prior to that, was the director of the graduate and undergraduate public history programs at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

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Alain Schnapp, as translated by Martina Dervis, “The Birth of the Archaeological Vision: From Antiquaries to Archaeologists,” pp. 216–29.

Greek antiquities of Anne Claude Philippe, Comte de Caylus, Recueil d’antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, grecques et romaines, vol. 1 (Paris: Desaint & Saillant, 1761), facing p. 85. INHA, Paris.

Greek antiquities of Anne Claude Philippe, Comte de Caylus, Recueil d’antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, grecques et romaines, vol. 1 (Paris: Desaint & Saillant, 1761), facing p. 85. INHA, Paris.

Focused on a series of French scholars and travelers, this article proposes that a distinct approach to history and antiquarianism developed in France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries emphasizing the importance of artifacts as bearers of historical evidence. Beginning with the circle around Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, the article introduces aspects of the work of the Marquis de Nointel, Jacob Spon, Bernard de Montfaucon, Michel Fourmont, the Comte de Caylus, and the scholars who accompanied Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1798. The article concludes with a discussion of Abel Blouet’s expedition to the Peloponnese (Morea) in Greece in 1829–31 that, in its scientific management of fieldwork, can be regarded as a landmark in the development of modern archaeological research.

Alain Schnapp is professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne). In 1999, he was the founding director of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), the premier research center for art history in France. He has held many visiting professorships, including those at the universities of Princeton, Naples, Cambridge, and Heidelberg. The history of archaeology is one of his primary interests, on which he has published widely, including La conquête du passé: Aux origines de l’archéologie (Paris: Éditions Carré, 1993), which was translated into English as The Discovery of the Past (London: British Museum Press, 1994).

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