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2019 Program

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2019 Charleston Heritage Symposium. Limited to 80 patrons, the Symposium offers a delightful flower-filled spring weekend in this historic South Carolina seaport renowned for its landmark buildings, magnificent homes, and gracious hospitality.

Join our outstanding roster of presenters as we examine some of the beautiful and interesting furniture, ceramics, textiles, and art which were brought to the colonies and young United States from the main trading nations: England, France, Holland, China, and the Caribbean Islands.

We are honored to have Becky MacGuire, Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist Chinese Export Art, and Director The Exceptional Sale, Christie’s, open this year’s program as the Keynote Speaker on Friday evening.

In addition to lectures, we will be visiting two superlative private pre-revolutionary homes which are being opened by the owners especially for the Symposium. One of the two homes was visited and studied by Symposium guests in 2016 when it was in the early process of restoration, a Before Study-Tour. The restoration is now finished and we are delighted to visit this home once again, an After Study-Tour.

As the Charleston Heritage Symposium tends to sell out quickly, you are encouraged to sign up early.


5:30-6:30 p.m. 
Symposium Registration and Opening Night Reception:
Old Federal Court Room, 23 Chalmers Street
Built in the early 19th-century, the building housed the U.S. District Court from 1845 to 1860 before becoming part of the Confederate Home and College property. In 1867 Mary Amarinthia Snowden and her sister, Isabella Yates Snowden, established a home for Confederate widows and orphans. Later they started a college on the premises. It is still known as the Confederate Home. The spirit of compassion of the Snowden sisters lives on today as the Confederate Home and College is a source of 5 college scholarships and moderately priced housing for qualified residents.

6:30-7:30 p.m. 
The China Trade: Power, Profit, Paintings, and Porcelain
Keynote Address with Becky MacGuire
Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist Chinese Export Art, and Director The Exceptional Sale, Christie’s, New York, NY

Introduction by Symposium Moderator and Curator-in-Residence, 
Robert A. Leath, Chief Curator and Vice President of Collections and Research, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts at Old Salem, Winston-Salem, NC


8:15 a.m.
Coffee Service: Old Federal Court Room, 23 Chalmers Street 

8:45-9:15 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks and Preservation Society Overview
Kristopher B. King
Executive Director, Preservation Society of Charleston, Charleston, SC

9:15-10:15 a.m.
A Voyage of the General Wolfe: Exporting Furniture from Colonial Massachusetts
Daniel Finamore, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

10:30-11:30 a.m.
The British and American Mahogany Trades in the Colonial Era
Adam Bowett, Independent Furniture Historian, London, UK

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Decoding the Furniture of Norfolk, Virginia and the Lower Chesapeake Region: 1680-1775
Sumpter Priddy, III, Museum and Historic Furniture Consultant, Sumpter Priddy III, Inc., Alexandria, VA

12:45-2:15 p.m.
Midday Break
Box lunches are being provided 
 Old Federal Court Room, 23 Chalmers Street

2:15-3:15 p.m.
Patterns of Fashion: The Transatlantic Textile Trade
Linda Eaton, John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE

3:30-4:30 p.m.
The Four Corners of the World: How Transoceanic Trade Shaped the Colonial Americas
Dennis Carr, Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

6:00-7:30 p.m.
Evening Soirée at the Col. William Washington House (c. 1770) 
Built 1768-1770 and the only pre-revolutionary house on the Battery, the Col. William Washington House is a nationally important Georgian style house on a high foundation. This magnificent double-house features a large paneled drawing room, and two-tiered piazza.  The current owner will give an overview of the history of the house, as well as some of the lovely decorative arts.
Col. William Washington was a cousin of George Washington’s, and a hero of several battles of the American Revolution. He married Jane Elliott, daughter of Charles Elliott whose house we will visit Sunday.

Shuttles are provided to the Col. William Washington House from the Old Federal Court Room.

SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2019

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Study Tour of the Charles Elliot House (c. 1759)
The Charles Elliott House is a stunning example of beautiful Charleston single house architecture. The restoration of this classic single Charleston house has recently been completed by the private owner. The Renovation Project Director, Ralph Harvard, Ralph Harvard, Inc., along with Architectural Conservator, Richard Marks, Richard Marks Restorations, Inc., will present their discoveries, thoughts, and notes on the renovation process and completion.

This special visit includes Bloody Marys and a light brunch. 

Shuttles provided to the Charles Elliott House from the Old Federal Court Room.