Southern Antiques/Introduction

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MORE and more there is apparent in the heart of the nation an instinctive turning toward the South and what it has to offer by way of its past. Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia call to mind a civilization on which the mind of America lovingly dwells, a group of early settlers whose memory is a matter of pride to their descendants scattered throughout the land, whose sacrifice, high thinking, and achievement is deep patterned in the upbuilding of the republic. Everywhere throughout this broad land of ours there is an instinctive groping for what remains of the beautiful and practical of that past.

Southern Antiques presents examples of the work of Southern craftsmen done from the time when the country was young, beginning in 1620, when the life of the Virginia colony was getting well under way, and continuing through the pioneer period when Maryland and the Carolinas fell into line around the middle and late part of the seventeenth century, and when Georgia more than half a century later took up her task. This means not only the period of early pioneering and the gradual setting up of homes as the colonies expanded and population increased, with simple furniture everywhere the order of the day. It means, likewise, the period of furniture development in England and on the Continent, matching in time the struggles of the French and Indian wars here, the agitations and discontent preceding the Revolution, the war itself, and the period of the early Republic as influenced by English masters. The book extends on through to 1820 when the Empire influence dominated and when James Monroe, the last of the Virginia presidents, in the period of the Virginia ascendancy, was entering his last term.

A book about antiques, to be of value in collecting, must present something typical rather than elaborate and highly developed, and what is said must be said in terms within the limits of the understanding and opportunity of the average collector. His need is for something by which he may be guided in his search; and the information must be given in a manner intelligible to him, and not, as it is, often obscure for him by the use of technical terms known only in the parlance of the cabinetmaker.

Mr. Burroughs has made this book for the lay reader as well as the collector. Furnishing historical background pertaining to the settlement and general life of the period, it shows something of the rise and progress of Southern furniture making, and ties up the craft with general movements originating elsewhere. Types are presented with some study accompanying each piece, in the light of the period in which it was made, with general summaries preceding, showing the development of Southern furniture, considered class by class.

Careby Hall,
Fluvanna County, Virginia.
August, 1931.