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Colonial Williamsburg Object: Drayton Hall Column Base

A Rich and Varied Culture, Collections, Event, Preservation
This column base from Drayton Hall will be on display at Colonial Williamsburg for an exhibit entitled A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South.

This column base from Drayton Hall will be on display at Colonial Williamsburg for an exhibit entitled A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South.

This column base has resided in the basement of Drayton Hall since at least 1875, when the pile of limestone columns on which it rested was mentioned in a Harper’s Weekly article. It is very likely that it is one piece of the original limestone columns that were erected between 1738 and 1747. In May of 1815, Charles Drayton (d. 1820) wrote in his journal, “Schnirle came with his carpenter. Directed him to set the scaffold to take down a stone pillar, in jeopardy.” Four days later he wrote, “Schnirle came [with] 26 fellows and took the pillar down safe and cleverly.” We can only imagine what a great feat it was to move an entire column given the extraordinary effort it took just to move the base!

Check out the column base and 26 other pieces from Drayton Hall at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s exhibit A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South.