The Growing Drayton Hall Museum Collection
06/04/2008 - Joyce Keegan
The Museum Collection has continued to grow in 2008. Research was completed on objects and manuscripts donated over the last few years and they were officially accessioned into the collection. It was exciting to think of the late eighteenth century Chinese export garniture set gracing one of the mantles; of the Draytons and their guests playing cards in the withdrawing room with the mother of pearl gaming counters; and Charles taking tea in the library, proudly displaying his Chinese export tea set.
Other wonderful items were very generously donated by the Drayton family this year. We were pleased to receive a miniature portrait painted on ivory of Bessie Drayton, the sister of the last occupant of Drayton Hall Miss Charlotta Drayton. We also accessioned a wooden needle case and thread bobbin and a “semi-china” sauce tureen with its underplate in the Blue Willow pattern, both from the nineteenth century.
Research has continued on the furniture from the first period of the house. The desk and cabinet remains an enigma. Its incongruent construction and design characteristics make a date difficult to attribute. Furniture historians from Great Britain and the United States have been consulted and offered their expert opinions. While there is no dispute that the piece originated in England, none can agree on a date. So our study continues. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.
As the Drayton Hall Museum Collection continues to grow, it enables us to flesh out the story of the lives of a Low Country planter family over the course of 2 ½ centuries. These objects and manuscripts give life to a story that involves social, political and economic history. In combination with the study of the landscape and the architecture of the house itself, the Collection enables us to envision a privileged world and those, free and enslaved, who occupied it.