The Material World of Eyre Hall

The Material World of Eyre Hall

Revealing Four Centuries of Chesapeake History

Carl R Lounsbury
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This is a microhistory of 400 years of southern history told in the study of one place, Eyre Hall on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay. Erected in 1759 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Eyre Hall is still occupied by descendants of its builder. It retains a rich variety of objects from furniture and books to silver and paintings acquired by the family, reflecting the tastes and aspirations of its many different generations. Only a small handful of places in Virginia can claim such continuity. The material culture of Eyre Hall illustrates the everchanging meanings of this place in American culture from the seventeenth- through the twenty-first century. It represents the cultural endeavors of southern society that was built on slavery and suffered the tribulations of wars, emancipation, and economic depressions. This study explores the mutability of this inheritance in the wake of such transformative events. The book is divided into four sections. The first recounts the history of those who lived at Eyre Hall. The second examines the architecture of the house and its service buildings. The third explores the formal garden. The fourth section is a catalogue raisonne of its objects. AUTHOR: Edited by Carl R. Lounsbury, Senior Architectural Historian, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (retired), Adjunct Associate Professor of History, College of William and Mary With an Introduction by Dr. Cary Carson, Senior Vice President of Research at Colonial Williamsburg, retired. Coontributions by Laura Barry, Bennie Brown, Edward Chappell, Sam Florer, Erik Goldstein, Haley Hoffman, Neal Hurst, Angelika Kuettner, Mark Letzer, Carl R. Lounsbury, George McDaniel, Katie McKinney, Elizabeth Palms, Margaret Pritchard, Sumpter Priddy, Will Rieley, Alexandra Rosenberg, Gary Stanton, Robert Watkins, and John Watson. 400 colour illustrations
"Some readers will see this book as a companion to The Chesapeake House, the magisterial account of early Tidewater architecture. It is that and more. With its focus on a single house and its remarkably preserved collection, it sets a new standard for scholarship on house museums, though its subject is a private home. Thanks to this beautiful book, Eyre Hall finally has the wider audience that it deserves. "-Jeffrey E. Klee, vice president and senior director of Architecture, Classical American Homes Preservation Trust; "The Material World of Eyre Hall goes far beyond chronicling four centuries at a well preserved private residence on Virginia' s Eastern Shore. Baldwin and Lounsbury bring together a who' s who of American material-culture historians to offer a compelling portrait of life in the Chesapeake. The eloquent introduction and history of the Eyre family coupled with first-hand accounts of those who lived and worked at Eyre Hall provide a valuable context for understanding the extraordinary buildings, landscape, and household objects that survive to tell its story. "-Carol B. Cadou, Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library; "This work is a rare confluence of a historic place, objects, and people captivating readers with a compelling historical narrative that spans over 350 years. In addition to the remarkable objects passed down from one generation to the next, it is also a legacy that entwines landowners, enslaved people, freedmen, and servants. Their stories are here, too-and rightfully so. The richness found in these pages surpasses much of what we see and hear at public historic house museums and sites. " -Christy S. Coleman, Executive Director, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Edited by Carl R. Lounsbury, Senior Architectural Historian, Colonial Williamsburg, retired, and Adjunct Associate Professor of History, William and MaryContributorsLaura Pass Barry, Juli Grainger Curator of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Colonial WilliamsburgBennie Brown, independent scholar, cataloguer, and bibliographer of early Virginia libraries, Williamsburg, VirginiaCary Carson, Vice President, Research Division, Colonial Williamsburg, retiredEdward A. Chappell was the Director of Archaeology and Architectural Research, Colonial WilliamsburgSam Florer, MA, William and MaryErik Goldstein, Senior Curator of Mechanical Arts and Numismatics, Colonial WilliamsburgHaley Hoffman, MA, William and MaryRobert Hunter, Editor, Ceramics in AmericaNeal T. Hurst, Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles, Colonial WilliamsburgAngelika R. Kuettner, Associate Curator of Ceramics and Glass, Colonial WilliamsburgMark B. Letzer, President and CEO of the Maryland Center for History and CultureGeorge W. McDaniel, Executive Director Emeritus, Drayton Hall, Charleston, South CarolinaKatie McKinney, Margaret Beck Pritchard Assistant Curator of Maps and Prints, Colonial WilliamsburgElizabeth Palms, MA, Winterthur Program, University of DelawareSumpter Priddy, Museum and Furnishings Consultant, Ashland, VirginiaMargaret Pritchard, Deputy Chief Curator, Colonial WilliamsburgWill Rieley, Landscape Architect, Rieley & Associates, Charlottesville, VirginiaAlexandra Rosenberg, MA student, Winterthur Program, University of DelawareJ. Thomas Savage, Director of External Affairs, Winterthur MuseumGary Stanton, Professor Emeritus, Department of Historic Preservation, University of Mary WashingtonRobert Watkins, MA student, Architectural History, University of VirginiaJohn Watson is the former Curator of Musical Instruments and Conservator of Instruments and Mechanical Arts, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation