Curator of Costumes and Textiles at Colonial Williamsburg, Linda Baumgarten,
leads a textiles-specific tour of the Governor's Palace.
Colonial Williamsburg, June 2013.
Hearing that Linda Baumgarten, curator of CW's collection of textiles and costumes, would be doing the tour the day I arrived, I made certain to secure my ticket early in the morning to ensure I wouldn't miss this unique opportunity. Before going into the Palace, Baumgarten briefly explained the role of the curator in general, and the highlights of her specialty specifically. Then, bringing us room to room as we moved through the building, she paused to point out and discuss individual items: curtains and blinds, bed hangings and rugs, wallpaper and wall coverings, fashion dolls and bedcovers. It was fascinating to hear her converse about items I've seen numerous times, and I began to look at the minutiae of details that defined each and every room through different eyes. Here's a little photo "essay" of some of my favorite little finds as I snapped away while she talked.
The residence of the Royal Governor was the most opulently decorated building in colonial Virginia. Indeed, so excessively extravagant did it seem to the colonists that they nicknamed it the "Governor's Palace," and it's easy to see why!
The cornice of the larger bedstead in one of the bedchambers is covered
in the same fabric from which the bed hangings are made.
As this room is interpreted as one belonging to the Governor's two eldest daughters,
a fashion doll and an embroidered pocket rest on the bedside table.
Can you see the seam in the carpet? The carpet of the ballroom was woven
and shipped in strips from England and then sewn together when it was installed.
I adore the bold, bright colors of the ballroom and the supper room.
Baumgarten explained that it is not paint that provides this stunning color, but
wallpaper, which was extremely popular in these bold shades in the early 1770s.
Clicking on any of the images will bring you to their flickr home, where you can access them in larger sizes. You can also find the full album from the Williamsburg trip here.