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Luke Beckerdite
Architect-Designed Furniture in Eighteenth-Century Virginia: The Work of William Buckland and William Bernard Sears

American Furniture 1994

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Charles Willson Peale, William Buckland, Annapolis, Maryland, 1787. Oil on canvas. 36 1/2" x 27". Peale completed this portrait thirteen years after Buckland’s death. Buckland is depicted working on elevations and plans for the Mathias Hammond House. (Courtesy, Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection; photo, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2
    Design for a pier table illustrated on plate 27 of William Jones’s The Gentleman or Builder’s Companion (1739). (Courtesy, Winterthur Library: Printed Books and Periodical Collection.)
  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Gunston Hall, Mason Neck (Fairfax County), Virginia, 1750–1760. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Portico on the south front of Gunston Hall. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5
    Central hall in Gunston Hall. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Detail of one of the appliqués on the arch spandrels in Gunston Hall. Yellow pine. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Carved stair bracket in Gunston Hall. Walnut. The scroll volute originally had an applied rosette. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Southwest parlor of Gunston Hall. The chimneypiece and carved elements painted white are restorations. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 9a
    Figure 9a

    Front view of the keystone over the arch of a cupboard in the southwest parlor of Gunston Hall. Yellow pine. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 9b
    Figure 9b

    Side view of the keystone over the arch of a cupboard in the southwest parlor of Gunston Hall. Yellow pine. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Detail of the casement molding for the door leading from the hall to the southwest parlor of Gunston Hall. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Luke Beckerdite.)
     

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Northwest parlor of Gunston Hall. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Fragment of a side chair attributed to William Buckland and William Bernard Sears, Fairfax County, Virginia, 1756–1761. Walnut. The conversion to an easy chair occurred about 1850. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Wes Stewart.)
     

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Detail of the front leg and bracket of the chair fragment illustrated in fig. 12. (Photo, Wes Stewart.)
     

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Design for a Chinese chair illustrated on pl. 25 in the first and second editions of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (1754, 1755). (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Wes Stewart.)
     

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Detail of one of the canopies shown in an early photo of the northwest parlor of Gunston Hall. (Courtesy, Gunston Hall.)
     

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Design for a china case illustrated on pl. 108 in the first and second editions of Chippendale’s Director. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Wes Stewart.)
     

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Mt. Airy, Richmond County, Virginia, 1750–1765. Reminiscent of pl. 58 in James Gibbs’s A Book of Architecture (1728), Mt. Airy is made of reddish brown sandstone blocks with limestone trim. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Luke Beckerdite.)
     

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Detail of a fragment of cornice molding from Mt. Airy. Yellow pine. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Luke Beckerdite.)
     

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Pier table attributed to William Buckland and William Bernard Sears, Richmond County, Virginia, 1761–1771. Cherry with beech. H. 31 3/4", W. 45 3/8", D. 29 3/4". The marble top is approximately 11/4" thick. The two front foot blocks are early replacements. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, acc. 9364; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Detail of the construction of the pier table illustrated in fig. 19. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure21
    Figure21

    Detail of the construction of the pier table illustrated in fig. 19. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail of the shell-and-acanthus ornament on the front rail of the pier table illustrated in fig. 19. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Detail of the carving on the sides of the legs of the pier table illustrated in fig. 19. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Detail of the acanthus carving on the front legs of the table illustrated in fig. 19. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Sideboard table attributed to William Buckland and William Bernard Sears, Richmond County, Virginia, 1761–1771. Walnut. H. 33 1/2" (not incl. the 1 1/2" marble top), W. 42 1/2", D. 25 1/2". The fret, portions of the applied carving on the front rail, and several of the foot moldings are replaced (see fig. 31). (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, acc. 3425; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Design for a sideboard table illustrated on pl. 38 in the first and second editions of Chippendale’s Director. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Wes Stewart.)
     

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Infrared photograph of the side rail of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 25. The fret on the side rails was identical to the fret on the front rail. (Courtesy, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; photo, Hans Lorenz.)
     

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Detail of the construction of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Detail of the construction of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Detail of the carving on the front rail of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)
     

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Pre-conservation detail of the carving on the front rail of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 25. (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Luke Beckerdite.)
     

  • Figure 32
    Figure 32

    Detail of the leg of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Sideboard table attributed to William Buckland and William Bernard Sears, Richmond County, Virginia, 1761–1771. (Antiques 43, no. 3 [March 1943]: 142; photo, Wes Stewart.)

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    Design for a French chair illustrated on pl. 17 in the first and second editions of Chippendale’s Director. This engraving is not in the third edition (1762). (Courtesy, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; photo, Wes Stewart.)

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Sideboard table possibly from the shop of William Buckland, Fairfax or Richmond County, 1755–1771. Materials and dimensions not recorded. (Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury, 2 vols. [Framingham, Ma.: Old America Co., 1928], 1: pl. 744; photo, Luke Beckerdite.)