tv American Artifacts Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts CSPAN June 16, 2018 10:30am-10:51am EDT
the museum of early southern decorative arts in winston salem, north carolina, features furniture, paintings, textiles and ceramics used and made by people in the southern states. the curator ackerman highlights objects that tell the history of through the area through the colonial through the antebellum and -- arab this is about 20 minutes. >> the south is a fascinating place because it is so diverse. we tend to think about the south being made of three regions, the area around maryland and virginia, the carolina low country, south -- wilmington
south through charleston and savannah. and then this place we call the back country. regions through the seven states that are part of them, they just go a few miles and everything changes, from the style of furniture to the kinds of textiles people are making to the food they are eating. we are standing in the masterworks gallery, one of the three south guided galleries. this is the place we put our iconic and meaningful things. one of my favorite objects is the tomahawk made by william young. about thenates me tomahawk is how it fires it -- fuses two traditions together. it is a smoking pipe and a tomahawk. of two type one
tomahawks that were you -- pipe tomahawks that were used. you see a fourth grade class come here and you see students glued to that case. , useful andarian beautiful, this piece of maypole turned into the shaft and maple and-- piece of then this piece of steel put on on -- put onto it. it was beautiful because it was useful and because it was symbolic. that was how it was passed down and how it ended up here. we are going to see the ceramics to tell thee we try whole history of the south in one kind of object, objects made of clay. we are in the ceramics gallery
and we are looking at one of the largest examples of pottery produced in the edgefield district. edgefield, south carolina was home to a number of pottery plantations. enslavedere free and potters converted the clay into practical vessels. of allot know the names of the potters who worked in the places, there is one exception. that is david drake. david was a talented potter. the physical force needed to convert raw clay into a vessel this large is a testament to his scale. david speaks to us through his work. more than 150 examples he signed and dates.
what is more significant are the pots where he adds his own inscription. here is a man, at a time where it was illegal to teach and enslaved person to read or write is doing both. he is giving the name of his owner. they are an affidavit of resistance. he is creative. not just with his hands, but with his mind. adding columns to the back of his pottery, in this case though words "i saw alliant with a leopards base -- i saw a lion with a leopard's face and felt in need of grace." powerful words from a man. not only does he write his work clay, but his
story can be carried through the civil war. to the moment, he no longer signs his name on a pot, but on a piece of paper to register on a voter. from then he not only -- he just dave,he is not he becomes david drake. he begins to take on his big identity as a free man in the post-civil war south. we are home to the largest collection of 17th century southern objects made between the founding of virginia in 1607 all the way up to the 1700s as virginia begins to move its focus into williamsburg. one of the best-known objects is this one. it is a court cupboard, the
equivalent of a sideboard. this is the earliest piece of southern furniture we know of today. of, itthe pieces we know is the only piece of furniture made in jamestown that survived. it represents what happens when an english trained crafts man comes to america and is kind ofed with the natural materials may have available. he is mixing three different woods to create this object. , a material heat would be familiar with. he is using walnut for the turned elements and doing something interesting. he is taking this walnut and chemically treating it to make it darker and richer and appear like ebony wood.
and then, he is taking and indigenous wanted, yellow pine for the shelves and panels. formal objects for their qualities, but we love them when they tell histories of people. not only is this the earliest southern object we have, it has an unbroken family history to the 17th century to a woman named mary percy who lived in york county. her object descended from to her daughter, and from mother and daughter through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. in the early 20th century it found a home with its first male iner, who was not using it one of the finest rooms, but on the back porch of his house in
south virginia where he was using it to store hams, tools and chicken feed. it was recognized by some of the early antiques dealers who are traveling the south trying to recover these objects from obscurity. it was brought to market and found its way to frank horton. it was the first serious object 1949, decades in before he decided to found the museum. in 1955 and it remains one of the most important and iconic objects in our collection. these next few galleries tell the story of the check of -- of the chesapeake they region, and the area that surrounds the bay. it is a strength of our collection. the 17thve out of
century and into the 18th century, you begin to see how the styles of places like london and edinburgh are having an impact throughout the south. to -- youto see, not begin to see not people coming for land, but professional cabinetmakers and artists coming to the south because they see an opportunity to make things for that new, planter elites. represents the kind of objects that would have been made through the region. that this architectural interior. this is architecture that came out of a house in somerset county, maryland built in the first decades of the 18th century. the kind of person who would've lived in this house is by no means poor.
house, one kind of room, and someday in the upper 10 percent or 15% of wealth. when you read inventories from , they have a number locallythings, not only made furniture like a walnut table, but also imported ceramics. they will have imported glass. just because they are living on the edge of the english empire does not mean that they do not have access to those global markets. those markets are bringing them those kinds of things. they are bringing them pottery, glass and metal work. they are bringing ideas of what is fashionable. not take long for what is fashionable in the cabinet shops of london war and brought
london,ow -- from edinburgh or glasgow to make its way into households at a democratic level. the settlements around the check us -- the settlements around the chesapeake bay are flourishing around the start of the 18th century. goingis also colonization on further south in what become the carolinas and georgia. the middle of the 18th century, the carolina low country is home to the wealthiest people in north america. the objects in this room represent the earliest inc.'s made in the southern low country. we will take a walk through this tour and see the kinds of objects being made in charleston, south carolina on the eve of the revolutionary war , when charleston is one of the wealthiest cities.
on the eve of the american revolution, charleston was closer to london then it was to the other colonial cities. morecharles tony and's -- people from charleston were being -- were sending their children a broad than any other colony. trade,alth is based on the trade for rice, and indigo that is being grown in huge quantities outside of the city. we are fortunate to have an art collection, one of the great thes of charleston from area. this painting done in 1774. painter who english advertises in the newspaper that he is preparing to paint a view of the city and that he will send the painting back to london and have it engraved.
you have to imagine that in the back of his head and the back of the advertisement there is the implication that, if you pay in advance maybe your house is a little bit that'll -- better delineated. he paints the view of charleston harbor on the eve of the revolution and shows charleston at the height of its commercial supremacy. he goes back to london, takes the painting and has the print engraved. what he produces is that definitive view of the city on the eve of the revolutionary war, when all of the identifiable charleston landmarks, st. michael's church, the exchange building, saint church, a laden ship coming into harbor. perhaps, if you want to get
philosophical, maybe these waves and clouds are meant to portend the revolution to calm, and the fact that even the wealthiest city in north america, there are storm clouds ruing and -- brewing and these colonies may not be colonies for much longer. we are really lucky to have an incredible collection of schoolgirl needlework. i like to say that these samplers are the work of our youngest artists. these are the work of girls who are 7, 8, 9, 10 years old. for me, one of the smallest in this -- is the most important. it says "blessed is he who considers the poor. eliza." it is the only surviving needlework from a cherokee girl
by thee schools created baptist church in 1821. it was actually stitched by a -- by this girl for a woman in baltimore who was a philanthropist. what is really -- what is really cool, we also have in our collection a second sampler from the same school worked, not by one of the native americans, but worked by a 12-year-old girl named catherine cleaver in 1823. the cleaver family were some of the missionaries who left their homes to come to this place. these two samplers are dutiful testament to ao terrible story. a few years later, the trail of tears and the removal of the cherokee leave these schools
dissolved and all we have left are things like this on -- these objects to tell their stories. coast in the chesapeake region and in the low country, you are seeing the craftsmenting made by who are directly coming from the mother country. when you get into the southern backcountry you start to see what happens when diverse craftsmen are mixing in different and interesting ways. is especially true in piedmont, north carolina where you have not only british craftsmen coming west from the eastern part of the state, but also this huge migration coming down the wagon road and into this part of north carolina. you have german speaking irishans, quakers, scots
presbyterian, all mixing in these fascinating and unpredictable ways. those stories, out in the kinds of objects they make. is filled with objects that look different and were made within 100 miles of the museum. one of my favorite objects is this chest of drawers. clearly tells that kind of story of different people from different communities coming kindher and making a new of america in the southern back country. and basic form it is a quaker chest of drawers. german -- afor german speaking family. we know who it was made for because it has there initial -- thier initials on it. were people of german stock who would -- who had come
down the great wagon road into the piedmont region. chest of needed a drawers they turned not to a fellow member of their community, but a quaker craftsman who lived nearby in a place called stinking quarter creek. this craftsman makes them a chest of drawers in the form he is most familiar with. and it comes to decorating that chest of drawers he does something different. he carves out the decoration, the initials and pours molten sulfur into them and planes off the excess to leave the inlay. technique that you see in quaker furniture. it is a technique that you see up and down the great wagon road , appearing in german-speaking communities. fausts object for the
family you have the mixing of quaker form, germanic decoration, the work of a quaker craftsman made for a family of german descent. that represents what is being made to be an american. and pieces of cultures and recombine them to create something artistically special like this chest of drawers. we have only had a chance to see a small selection of objects from the collection. the vast majority is easily accessible and open to the public for study, forlorn -- for learning and enjoying. these objects are incredibly diverse from the very fine, to simple, to the big and small. all of these objects have one thing in common. they were made and used by diverse people who lived and
worked in the early american south from the first english footsteps all the way through the beginning of the american civil war. maryland, lived in virginia, georgia, north and south carolina, tennessee, and kentucky. >> you are watching american americanase the -- history tv, 48 hours of programming on c-span3. follow us on twitter at c-span history for latest information -- the latest information on our schedule. alan -- he'dorian argues that, despite the ratification of the 14th and 15th amendments, the reconstruction. -- the reconstruction period failed to specify african-american equality do --