January 19, 2020
The Williamsburg Lodge
310 South England Street
Down the Great Wagon Road: Furnishing the Southern Backcountry
Bold paint decoration, intricate inlay, wedged dovetails, punched tin, and sophisticated furniture, simultaneously familiar and unique, abound as we step into the early Southern backcountry for this year’s conference. As varied as the people who settled there, surviving backcountry furniture reveals remarkable stories of cultural persistence and incorporation. Down the Great Wagon Road came people of diverse ethnic backgrounds from across the colonies and the Atlantic– notably from Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany and Switzerland. In time, they transformed the Shenandoah Valley, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, and western North Carolina into a stable network of communities with distinctive markets for furniture that reflected their inherited traditions and the influence of their new home and neighbors. Please join us as craftspeople and scholars from across The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation work alongside distinguished guest presenters – cabinetmaker Steve Latta, chair maker Elia Bizzarri, and scholar Daniel Ackermann – to explore this diverse legacy of fine craftsmanship.