Thoughts on War
Producing fine furniture was the business of the cabinetmaker. Neither England nor the colonies could support full-time furniture producers until the last half of the 17th century. By the mid-18th century, only one-third of stylish Virginia furniture appears to have come from England. This percentage diminished as patriotic Virginians increasingly honored attempts to boycott English goods as the Revolution neared.
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The 1770s was a period of great upheaval for artisans like us, building particularly luxury goods like fine furniture and musical instruments. When the war came in 1775, this was nothing less than a disaster for us. With Virginia turning into a war zone, people are keeping their money very close to their persons, and fine furniture, musical instruments, and goods of this nature are about as far from peopleÕs minds as could be the moon. Many cabinetmakers are finding that they simply cannot make a living by their chosen trades that they had worked in sometimes for years and years. They have to make a changeÉeither temporary or permanently.
Ed Wright is a journeyman harpsichord maker for Colonial Williamsburg.