Enfilade

Searching for Wrecked Slaving Ships

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 21, 2017

The House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) with the narrow door, the Point-of-no-return, through which slaves were loaded onto ships bound for the Americas, visible in the center. The building opened as a museum in 1962. Photo by Robin Elaine (3 September 2004), Wikimedia Commons.

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As reported by AFP, via Art Daily (20 August 2017). . .

Staring out to sea [off the coast of Dakar] on a flawlessly sunny day, underwater archaeologist Ibrahima Thiaw visualises three shipwrecks once packed with slaves that now lie somewhere beneath Senegal’s Atlantic waves. He wants more than anything to find them.

Thiaw has spent years scouring the seabed off the island of Gorée, once a west African slaving post, never losing hope of locating the elusive vessels with a small group of graduate students from Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University. Gorée was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast between the 15th and 19th century, according to the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO, and Thiaw believes his mission has a moral purpose: to heal the open wounds that slavery has left on the continent.

“This is not just for the fun of research or scholarship. It touches us and our humanity and I think that slavery in its afterlife still has huge scars on our modern society,” he said, pulling on a wetsuit and rubber boots for the day’s first dive.

Thiaw believes his native Senegal, with its own long and violent history of trade in human flesh, could tell the world more about how modern capitalism was founded on violence inflicted on African bodies. . . .

Thiaw, who originates from a rural area of Senegal but went on to study in the United States [earning a PhD from Rice University], had become known for his research into slaves’ living conditions on Goree island when he was approached three years ago by the US National Park Service and National Museum of African American History and Culture to find a west African base for their ‘Slave Wrecks Project‘. . . .

The trio of wrecks Thiaw seeks—the Nanette, the Bonne Amitie, and the Racehorse—all disappeared off Gorée in the 18th century, taking with them crucial evidence of how enslaved Africans were carried across the harrowing Middle Passage. . . .

The full article is available here»

Kevin Sieff reported on the project for The Washington Post (20 August 2017), available here»

Excavating the VOC ‘Rooswijk’, a 1740 Shipwreck

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 21, 2017

Pewter tankard found in the wreck of the Rooswijk, which sank in 1740
© Historic England/RCE

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As reported by AFP, via Art Daily (20 August 2017) . . .

Maritime archaeologists said Friday they have begun excavating the wreck of a Dutch ship that sank off the English coast in 1740, recovering leather shoes, silver and the bones of its lost crew. The Rooswijk, a Dutch East India Company ship, was on its way to what is now Jakarta when it went down with around 300 people and a large cargo of silver ingots and coinage aboard.

Following its discovery in 2005, most of the precious goods were removed, but a full excavation is now underway due to concerns it could be destroyed by shifting sands and currents.

Remains of some of the sailors who perished have been found preserved on the seabed 26 metres (85 feet) down, along with more coins, leather shoes, an oil lamp, glass bottles, pewter jugs and spoons, and ornately carved knife handles.

“It’s a snapshot of a moment in time,” said Alison James, a maritime archaeologist at Historic England, while one her colleagues said it was like “an underwater Pompeii.” . . .

The project is the largest of its scale on a ship from the Dutch East India Company [the VOC], which lost a total of 250 vessels to shipwreck—of which only a third have been located.

Reporting by Sarah Gibbens for National Geographic is available here»

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Discovered: New Parchment Copy of the Declaration of Independence

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on April 22, 2017

A parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence, believed to date from the 1780s and held in the West Sussex Record Office in England
(West Sussex Record Office Add Mss 8981)

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For me, this discovery is particularly interesting in terms of the process: knowledge of the Sussex copy grew out of Dr. Danielle Allen’s creation in 2015 of the online resource the Declaration Resource Project. Allen was, incidentally, awarded a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant in 2001, when she was part of the Department of Classical Languages & Literatures at The University of Chicago. CH

From The New York Times:

Jennifer Schuessler, “A New Parchment Declaration of Independence Surfaces. Head-Scratching Ensues,” The New York Times (21 April 2017).

In a bit of real-life archival drama, a pair of scholars [Danielle Allen and Emily Sneff] are announcing a surprising discovery: a previously unknown early handwritten parchment of the Declaration, buried in a provincial archive in Britain. The document is the only other 18th-century handwritten parchment Declaration known to exist besides the one from 1776 now displayed at the National Archives in Washington. It isn’t an official government document, like the 1776 parchment, but a display copy created in the mid-1780s, the researchers argue, by someone who wanted to influence debate over the Constitution. . . .

Its subtle details, the scholars argue, illuminate an enduring puzzle at the heart of American politics: Was the country founded by a unitary national people, or by a collection of states? “That is really the key riddle of the American system,” said Danielle Allen, a professor of government at Harvard, who discovered the document with a colleague, Emily Sneff. . . .

The new discovery grew out of the Declaration Resources Project, which Ms. Allen, the author of the book Our Declaration, created in 2015 as a clearinghouse for information about the myriad versions—newspaper printings, broadsides, ornamental engravings—that circulated in the decades after independence. So far, the project’s database counts some 306 made between July 4, 1776, when Congress commissioned a broadside from the Philadelphia printer John Dunlap, and 1800. (The parchment ‘original’ at the National Archives was in fact signed in early August 1776, nearly a month after independence.) . . .

The full NY Times article is available here»

An article by Allen and Sneff describing the Sussex copy and addressing its significance is in preparation for publication in Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America; the article is available for download from the Declaration Resources Project.

From the Declaration Resources Project:

Danielle Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Broad of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), and Our Declaration (2014), and co-editor with Rob Reich of Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013) and with Jennifer Light of From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age (2015). She is a Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Broad, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Philosophical Society.

Emily Sneff is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a passion for historical research, content development, and curation. Before joining the Declaration Resources Project, Emily was a member of the curatorial team at the American Philosophical Society Museum for two exhibitions on Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson, Philadelphia, and the Founding of a Nation in 2014, and Jefferson, Science, and Exploration in 2015.

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Note (added 3 May 2017) — Danielle Allen, in an OpEd for The Washington Post, offers a compelling defense of the National Endowment for the Humanities in connection with the discovery of the Sussex copy of the Declaration of Independence. The essay is available here»

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Hermione Voyage 2015

Posted in anniversaries, the 18th century in the news by Editor on June 5, 2015

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From the Hermione Voyage 2015 website:

Twenty years ago, a small group dreamed of reconstructing an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship called the Hermione. Today, the majestic vessel is the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years. The Hermione has set sail in France, launching an adventure that comes to the USA in the summer of 2015 for an unprecedented voyage.

In April 2015, after a period of sea trials and training in 2014, the Hermione set sail for the USA. The journey started from the mouth of the River Charente, in Port des Barques, where Lafayette boarded on March 10th, 1780. The transatlantic crossing was expected to take 27 days in total, before making landfall at Yorktown, Virginia.

As the Hermione moves up the Eastern seaboard, it will be accompanied by a range of pier side activities. These include in some ports a traveling exhibition and a heritage village that will be accessible to the public. The Hermione Voyage 2015 is part of an expansive outreach program with cultural events, exhibitions, and educational programs that celebrate the trip and mark its progress. A robust digital activation for the voyage expands the reach of the project to millions of people.

 

Wedgwood Appeal: Donate to Save the Collection

Posted in museums, the 18th century in the news by Editor on September 5, 2014

From Save the Wedgwood Collection:

Josiah Wedgwood, The First Day's Vase, c.1769 (Wedgwood Museum Trust)

Josiah Wedgwood, The First Day’s Vase, c.1769 (Wedgwood Museum). Inscribed ‘artes Etruriae renascuntur’ (‘the arts of Etruria are reborn’).

The Wedgwood Collection, one of the most important industrial archives in the world and a unique record of over 250 years of British art, is under threat of being separated and sold off.

The Art Fund now has the opportunity to purchase it for the nation intact, provided the final £2.74m of a total £15.75m fundraising target can be raised by 30 November 2014. This is the only chance to keep the collection in one piece and on public display, preserving this unique record of British history and global commerce.

The collection is the major asset of the Wedgwood Museum Trust, which inherited £134m of pension debt as a result of the UK subsidary of Waterford Wedgwood Plc going into administration in 2009. The debt transferred from company to Trust because the two had been linked through a shared pension fund. Although the Pension Protection Fund (PPF)—the industry body set up by the government to compensate individual pensioners in the event of a company insolvency—will absorb the liability, it has a duty to claw back as much as it can from sale of assets.

In December 2011 the High Court ruled that the Wedgwood Collection was indeed an asset of the Wedgwood Museum Trust that should be sold in order to repay some of the debt owed, and in March 2012 the Attorney General upheld this ruling. Since then, the Art Fund and other partners have looked at all options to prevent the Collection from being broken up and sold on the open market. However, after exploring several avenues, all parties have now agreed that the only option is for the Art Fund to raise the necessary funds to purchase the Collection on behalf of the nation. In order to protect the Collection from ever being at risk again, if the money can be raised, the Art Fund plans to gift it to the Victoria & Albert Museum, the national museum of art and design. Without needing to move it, but with its ownership secure in perpetuity, the V&A intends to assign it on long-term loan to the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, which will lie at the heart of a major new visitor experience as part of Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton’s (WWRD) £34m redevelopment of the site—set for completion in spring 2015.

The Art Fund has launched an appeal to raise the full £15.75m needed for the purchase, in order to keep this irreplaceable Collection together and on display. Thanks to major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a number of private trusts and foundations, over £13m has already been raised. The campaign has until 30 November to find the remaining £2.74m necessary to purchase—and save—the Collection.

The future of the remarkable Wedgwood Collection has never looked brighter—provided the funds can be raised.

Donate to the appeal online or text WEDGWOOD to 70800 to give £10.

Mark Brown’s coverage for The Guardian (1 September 2014) is available here»

A. N. Wilson’s essay “Wedgwood: The Legacy Must Live On” appears in the Autumn 2014 issue of Art Quarterly and is also available at Save the Wedgwood Collection (4 September 2014).

 

The 2013 Georgian Group Architectural Awards

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 14, 2014

The most recent architectural awards from The Georgian Group were announced last October (yes, I realize the posting is long, long overdue), with nominations open for the 2014 awards until September 19.CH

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The Georgian Group’s Architectural Awards, sponsored by international estate agents Savills and now in their twelfth year, recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. Awards are also given for high-quality new buildings in Georgian contexts and in the Classical tradition.

Entries for the 2014 awards are now being accepted. There is no entry fee. Schemes must be in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man or Channel Islands and must have reached practical completion between 1st January 2013 and 1st August 2014. For the purpose of the Awards, the term ‘Georgian’ embraces the period of classical ascendancy in Britain and is taken to mean 1660–1840. The owner’s consent is a condition of entry. Please send a description of your project with a selection of images to robert@georgiangroup.org.uk or to The Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5DX by 5pm on Friday 19 September 2014.

More information is available here»

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More information about the 2013 results and additional pictures are available here»

2 0 1 3  W I N N I N G  A N D  C O M M E N D E D  S C H E M E S

A - TOWNHEAD COMPLETED

Restoration of a Georgian Country House

Winner
Townhead, Slaidburn, Lancs (pictured above)
By and for Robert Staples
Early C18 stone house. Previously on buildings at risk register, acquired by present owners 2010, conservatively restored using traditional methods.

Commended
Hadlow Tower, Tonbridge, Kent
Thomas Ford and Partners for The Vivat Trust
1832 by Walter Barton May as part of a now largely demolished country house. 185ft Gothic folly in brick with covering of Roman cement. On World Monuments Fund Watch List by 2003. Now restored and refaced, with lantern (removed after storm damage in 1987) rebuilt.

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Rotunda (May 2013)Restoration of a Georgian Interior

Winner
Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London (shown at right)
RHWL for The Really Useful Group Theatres
Restoration of Grand Saloon, The King’s and Prince’s Staircases and the Rotunda. Redecoration with advice from John Earl, Lisa Oestreicher and Edward Bulmer to match as closely as possible Benjamin Dean Wyatt’s original design. Installation of copy of Canova’s Three Graces in the Rotunda.

Commended
Great Fulford, near Exeter, Devon
Ceiling by Geoffrey Preston for Francis Fulford
New decorated plaster ceiling for the C17 double cube Great Dining Room. The original ceiling collapsed C19 and the room was then abandoned until C20; in 1960 a temporary ceiling composed of acoustic tiles was installed to make the room habitable. The 1700 picture hang has also been largely reinstated.

 

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Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting

Winner
Mostyn House, 42 Vale Street, Denbigh
Milrick Ltd for John and Janis Franklin
1722 townhouse, restored in project initiated by Denbighshire County Council and part-funded by Townscape Heritage Initiative with HLF support. Main elevation fully returned to its original appearance, with removal of pebbledash and excrescences (later oriel window to first floor and bay windows to ground floor). Façade limewashed. Internally, lost oak panelling and missing section of oak staircase re-created.

Commended
116 High St, Boston, Lincolnshire
Anderson and Glenn for Heritage Lincolnshire
1728 merchant’s townhouse, later bank; by end of C20, gardens concreted over and house officially at risk and near to collapse. Compulsorily purchased by local authority and restored by building preservation trust supported by Architectural Heritage Fund and HLF. Envelope conserved and some lost features reinstated. Interior fitted out for office use and premises for small businesses built in grounds, giving a boost to a part of Boston cut off by a 1960s ring road.

Commended
107 Great Mersey Street, Liverpool L5
Brock Carmichael for Rotunda Ltd
1820s house, the only Georgian building left in Kirkdale area of Liverpool, near docks. In atrocious condition and on buildings at risk register by 2003, Urgent Works Notice served in 2007. HLF-funded project to restore envelope and restore or replace internal fabric.

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Reuse of a Georgian Building

P1010148Winner
St. Helen’s House, Derby (shown at right)
Brownhill Hayward Brown for Richard Blunt
1766 by Joseph Pickford, Grade I, one of the finest C18 townhouses to survive in a provincial city. Sold by the Strutt family to Derby School in the 1860s, in educational use till 2004, since when vacant and formally at risk. Bought by Richard Blunt in 2006, now restored and converted to office use, the recession having put paid to a planned hotel conversion.

Commended
Norwood House, Beverley, East Riding
Elevation Design for The Brantingham Group (specialist advice from Patrick Baty)
1765, Grade I townhouse, acquired by local authority 1907 and used as a girls’ school until 1990s, then disused; deteriorated to the point where it was formally at risk. Arson in 2004 damaged the Rococo drawing room and the 1825 Grecian library. Subject to unsympathetic proposals but now sensitively restored and let in its entirety to a culinary school who use it in part as a restaurant.

Commended
Stable block, Sulby Hall, Northants
JWA Architects for Mr and Mrs Sandercock
1790s, attributed to Soane. Sulby Hall was demolished in 1952 and the surviving stable block was subsequently in various uses including as a store for farm equipment and grain. By 2005 it was ruinous and roofless. Natural England initiated restoration as part of a management plan for the owners’ mixed farm and the stable block, fully restored, is now used as a stable yard for stallions in a national breeding programme.

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Maze Main

Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape

Winner
Repton pleasure grounds, Woburn, Beds (pictured above)
Woburn Abbey gardeners for The Duke of Bedford
Restoration, and re-creation where lost, of the Georgian pleasure gardens and garden buildings, including Holland’s Chinese dairy, Repton’s pagoda, temple, aviary and cone house and Wyatville’s Camellia House.

Commended
Cow Pond, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire
Russ Canning for The Crown Estate
Part of the ten-year Royal Landscape Project to reinstate the lost historic landscapes of Windsor Great Park. Cow Pond, part of Wise’s 1712 plan for the Park and taking the form of a canal, was overgrown by 2008 and had regressed to swamp. Restoration included dredging and draining, construction of a Baroque footbridge and arbour and new planting.

Commended
Sir James Tillie Mausoleum, Pentillie Castle, Saltash, Cornwall
Cliveden Conservation for Ted Coryton
1713, in ruinous condition and covered in vegetation when Pentillie bought by present owners in 2007. Fully restored following archaeological survey, damaged Tillie statue repaired, vault excavated.

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New Building in the Classical Tradition

Winner
Onslow Park, near Shrewsbury, Salop
Craig Hamilton for Mr and Mrs John Wingfield
Schinkelesque country house on established estate. Five-bay, the centre three bays slightly recessed with arched openings to ground floor, forming an arcade on the garden front. Rendered with stone dressing. Top-lit stair hall with gallery and spiral cantilevered staircase.

Commended
Oval cricket ground, London SE11 (new forecourt pavilion)
Hugh Petter of Adam Architecture for Surrey County Cricket Club
Forecourt pavilion in brick with Bath stone dressing, replacing functional C20 banqueting suite. Central portico articulated with stone columns with bespoke Prince of Wales feather capitals and surmounted by stone urns.

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Giles Worsley Award for a New Building in a Georgian Context

Winner
8B Aubrey Road, London W8
Craig Hamilton Architects for Mr and Mrs Andrew Deacon
New classical mews house replacing former mews in grounds of 25 Holland Park Avenue (1820s). Soanean echoes, especially in recessed arches and rectangular sculpture gallery. Public façade composed of pediment and Diocletian window above full-width front door imitating typical mews garage door.

Commended
A lodge for a country house in Gloucestershire
Craig Hamilton for a private client
Classical lodge in stone on cruciform plan, each axis terminating at either end in a broken pediment; deep block-modillion cornice.

Commended
Trinity Church Terrace, Trinity Street, Borough, London SE1
By and for London Realty
Terrace of ten five-storey houses, forming infill development adjoining Trinity Church Square and designed to harmonise with existing context.

 

David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on October 25, 2013

MA011©Pavel_Antonov-copy

Photo by Pavel Antonov

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In the October 28 issue of The New Yorker (“Wigstock,” pp. 70-72), Hilton Als reviews Marie Antoinette, written by David Adjmi, directed by Rebecca Taichman, and featuring Marin Ireland in the queen’s role (at New York’s SoHo Rep, 9 October — 24 November).

That the piece amounts to a kind of collaboration between Adjmi and Ireland–she writes in space with her body as Adjmi’s words fill the stage–is one of the production’s unexpected pleasures; in our generally director-driven theatre, it’s fascinating to watch a great actress assume the mantle of muse and run with it. . .

Right off we know that Adjmi’s Marie isn’t Marie; her language isn’t in the tradition of stage royals, particularly as imagined by American actors performing the “classics.” Rather we’re in something more modern . . . Adjmi’s brilliance is to use trashy vernacular speech to allude to the way history trashes us. . .

The full review (along with lots more) is available as a PDF file at the SoHo Rep website.

Kinross House Receives HHA Restoration Award for 2013

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 27, 2013

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Sir William Bruce, Kinross House, Perth and Kinross, 1685

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Press release from the HHA:

The Historic Houses Association and Sotheby’s are delighted to announce that the 2013 Restoration Award has been awarded to Kinross House, Scotland’s first neo-classical Palladian mansion. Built in 1685 by Sir William Bruce, one of the foremost architects of the classical form, the historic house was in need of extensive restoration when its present owner, Mr Donald Fothergill, acquired the property in 2011. In a labour of love, Kinross House and Gardens have been saved from disrepair and meticulously restored to their former glory. Six other applicants from across the UK have been commended or shortlisted for this year’s Award (as listed below).

The entire roof, every single pipe, and every single wire in the 55 room property had to be replaced. Working with sensitivity and respect, and using traditional products and craftsmanship wherever possible, the restoration team remodelled every room drawing inspiration from the house’s own history, historic furniture and artworks. The project also enabled parts of the interior of the house to be completed for the very first time – such as the pediments above the door and the fireplaces in the Grand Salon – elements which Sir William Bruce had been unable to finish by the time of his fall from royal favour and financial ruin.

Dining room

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In line with Sir William Bruce’s vision for the house 350 years ago, the original seventeenth century garden designs have also been reinstalled – restoring the long lost historic views, geometries and horticultural plans which were so integral to Bruce’s neo-classical design. As well as functioning as a contemporary home, the house is now open to the public for the first time in its history, available for special events, weddings and tours.

“The major restoration programme which has been undertaken over the past two years at Kinross has saved and revitalised this hugely important house from deterioration and possible future loss. The scale of the renovation is magnificent, and the house can now be seen by more people than perhaps ever in its long history – it is terrific to see the house coming back to life and being filled once again. Active use of the house is already having a beneficial effect on employment and incomes in the surrounding area. I would also like to congratulate all those projects which the judges have commended as well as those on the shortlist”
– Richard Compton, President of the Historic Houses Association

“This is an heroic restoration of the grandest classical house in Scotland. To see an owner devote such love, care and attention to a house which will continue as a home, is a thorough vindication of the aims of the award “
– Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sotheby’s UK

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C O M M E N D E D  P R O P E R T I E S

Allerton Castle, Yorkshire
England’s most elegant and important Gothic revival stately home was previosuly owned by Prince Frederick (the Grand Old Duke of York), brother to King George IV. Dr Gerald Arthur Rolph has dedicated some 25 years to restoring this important Grade I listed house including recent major restoration following a fire in 2005 which destroyed one third of the castle.

Blenheim Palace Vistor Centre
July 2012 marked the opening of a new visitor’s centre at Blenheim – the largest development seen at the Palace for over 200 years. Located in the East Courtyard of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the new centre has been expertly crafted to seamlessly integrate with its historic surroundings.

Bodnant, Furnace Farm
Unused for 40 years, Furnace Farm, based on the edge of the famous Garden at Bodnant, had deteriorated nearly beyond the realms of repair. Sensitively restored by owners Michael and Caroline McLaren, the farm has been respectfully converted into a Welsh food centre, wine shop and restaurant. Welsh materials and workmanship were used wherever possible.

Rise Hall, Yorkshire
After the Second World War, Rise Hall was used as a girl’s convent school, though 50 years on it had begun to creak under the strain of skeleton maintenance. The present owners, Graham Swift and Sarah Beeny, purchased the house 12 years ago, embarking on a restoration project to ensure a sustainable future for the property. One or two rooms have been left in their original state to demonstrate the exhausting lengths the owners have gone to in order to rescue this house.

S H O R T L I S T E D  P R O P E R T I E S

The Hyde, Tenbury Wells
This Grade II* medieval hall dating from around 1300 is one of the earliest hall houses in the country. Although it was extensively remodelled in the 1840s and again in the 20th century, the house began to reveal the secrets hiding behind its Victorian façade during recent restoration work. Saved from near total loss by owners Lord and Lady Clifton, the house has been sensitively restored using traditional techniques and materials, and displays many of the original features.

The Grove, Essex
The Grove, built in 1754, stands in the centre of a park and pleasure gardens designed by Humphry Repton, the last great English landscape designer of the eighteenth century. Its Coach House, designed to match the elegance of its surroundings, was built in 1840. Now transformed into residential accommodation, the Coach House has been into returned into an integral part of The Grove estate once more.

Imagining the Shantytown Dwellings at Fort Mifflin

Posted in museums, the 18th century in the news by Editor on July 4, 2013

I’m sorry I learned of this Philadelphia project only a few days ago (after the close of the festival, which looks to have been positively exhilarating). Still, it seems worth noting, a useful counterweight perhaps to all the magnificence within the period’s historiography. One of the artists, Ben Neiditz, is, incidentally, on staff at the Penn Museum. -CH

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Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber, Ruins at High Battery,
Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, 2013. Photo by Peter Woodall

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In connection with Philadelphia’s Hidden City Festival (23 May — 30 June 2013), Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber have constructed improvised dwellings that recall Revolutionary War-era shantytowns along the Delaware River at Fort Mifflin, a stunning remnant of the Revolutionary War. Playing with notions of permanence and impermanence, the artists’ settlement recalls the shantytowns that have dotted the Delaware River wetlands since the 18th century–while also imagining the DIY settlements of the future. . .

Read more at the festival website; additional photos can be found at Street Department, Conrad Benner’s blog dedicated to art on the streets of Philadelphia.

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From the Fort Mifflin website:

Lossing, Benson John. "Field Book of the Revolution" (2 Volumes). New York: Harper Brothers. Vol. 2, p. 90

Fort Mifflin, 1777, from Benson John Lossing’s Field Book of the Revolution, 2 volumes (New York: Harper Brothers, 1853), vol. 2, p. 90. Image from Wikimedia Commons

[At Fort Mifflin, in the fall of 1777,] on the frozen, marshy ground within the walls of a stone and wood fort, the American Revolution produced a shining moment. Cold, ill and starving, the young garrison of (now) 400 men at Fort Mifflin refused to give up. The valiant efforts of the men at Fort Mifflin held the mighty British Navy at bay providing Washington and his troops time to arrive safely at Valley Forge where they shaped a strong and confident army. This battle escalated into the greatest bombardment of the American Revolution and one that many say changed the course of American history. . .

2013 Iris Awards

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on January 31, 2013

From the BGC:

Bard Graduate Center Announces Recipients of the Seventeenth Annual Iris Foundation Awards

Dr. Susan Weber, Founder and Director of the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, has announced the recipients of the Seventeenth Annual Iris Foundation Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts.

This year’s honorees are Richard Jenrette, Morrison H. Heckscher, Glenn Adamson, and Adrian Sassoon. The awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Colony Club, 564 Park Avenue, on April 17, 2013. (more…)