Digging in the Drawers at Drayton Hall
Digging in the ground on historic properties is usually left to the purview of archaeologists. Artifacts are found, washed, labelled, recorded, and then put into long-tern storage.
A lot of my research these days involves the opening of these long-closed storage cabinets in search of forgotten treasures. A trip to South Carolina's Drayton Hall several years ago yielded a most memorable and important discovery. Working with Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist and Curator of Collections, and accompanied by my London colleagues, Garry Atkins and Rod Jellicoe, we had the opportunity to see some of the previously excavated materials.
Of particular interest, were fragments of a dry-bodied stoneware teapot with applied decoration. I immediately recognized the form as I had acquired an identitical examples for Colonial Williamsburg and the early 1990s and subsequently another for a private collection.
These teapots are relatviely rare and I never expected to see one in an American archaeological context. Its high style however, is commensurate with what might be expected of the furnishings of Drayton Hall in the third quarter of the 18th century.