Kitchens in VA and DC, 1750-1800
Each student will prepare an essay analyzing a ‘space’ in a traditional American home from the 18th or 19th centuries, taking into consideration the variety of
historic house museums we explored over the semester. Space is broadly defined as a room (e.g. parlor or bed chamber) or interior/exterior area (passage, service yard,
portico) associated with domestic life. Using at least three case studies (i.e. interiors from authentic sites and actual homes), establish the cultural context and
room use by discussing the variety of furnishings used in the room, from floor coverings and window treatments to all portable objects in between. Properly cited and
credited images (see format sample below) of the appropriate decorative arts should accompany your critical analysis of this interior. Your objective is to construct a
final written furnishing plan that details how your chosen space could be arranged and furnished to reflect
life in your chosen region and time period. Note which furnishings appeared new and fashionable and which objects fell from use. Describe which pieces represented
stylistic or technological innovation or which objects looked to earlier precedents. Using the objects as evidence, convey how and why the room was used, who
lived/worked within, and any variations to its furnishings seasonally, over the course of the day, etc.
At least one case study should be based on an authentic interior preserved by a historic house museum from the region, whereas the supplementary case studies can be
drawn from either extant households or other period sources. For example, should a paper explore dining rooms in the Chesapeake from 1760-1810, one might select
Gunston Hall (as interpreted by an HHM evaluated on this course), Menokin, and Arlington House.
Your research and case studies should be focused to a particular region (e.g. rural Tidewater, urban Annapolis, the Eastern Shore, etc.) and span a 50-year period
(e.g. 1725-1775, 1790-1840, 1850-1900, etc.). Students will use primary source material including: objects, inventories, advice books, receipts, photographs, drawings,
architectural plans, period paintings, and other design sources. Relevant secondary sources such as exhibition catalogues, articles, monographs, etc. will support your
Your goal is consider the way in which decorative furnishings and interiors evolved over time, so as long as the sites/interiors you select have documentation to
illustrate this stylistic range, you ?have followed instructions. If the interiors of houses built in 1800, 1807, 1815, are all essentially similar (Federal style),
then you have not adequately explored the implications of changes in taste and decorative arts. If however, the interiors of those houses are furnished to reflect
tastes in 1800, 1820 and 1850 (resulting from renovation/refurbishment) then you have followed instructions. Just because a house was built in 1775 does not mean it
always exhibited 18th-century furniture. Remember the 1911 photographs we considered of Tudor Place, which recorded the interiors of a home built in 1816 yet furnished
with objects from the 1850s and beyond.
Format your essay to be 10 pages, double-spaced, 1-inch margins max., using 12-pt Times New Roman. Endnotes, numbered consecutively 1, 2, 3, etc., should be single-
spaced. Do not use footnotes. References to images, which should be presented at the end of your essay following your bibliography but before your endnotes, should be
inserted into the text, either in the middle of a sentence (Fig. 1) or at the end (Fig. 1).