The Alexandria Association is the city’s oldest organization devoted to the preservation of Alexandria’s historic buildings, landscapes, records, and antiquities; and to education in the decorative, fine, and building arts.
Thomas Jefferson advocated furnishing homes to inspire republican virtues. Among the distinctive pieces that caught his imagination was the Campeachy chair, a Latin American form introduced to the United States following the Louisiana Purchase in 1804. In 1817, Nicholas Trist of Louisiana presented the retired president with a Campeachy chair with the initials “TJ” entwined in a cipher on the leather upholstery. Surprisingly, Trist ordered a nearly identical second chair for his grandmother, Elizabeth Trist. The pair stood side by side at Monticello and also at Jefferson’s villa retreat, Poplar Forest, where they were potent symbols of the president’s ties to the amicable — yet little known — Mrs. Trist. This lecture will demonstrate how a search for a single chair’s origins opened a window into a rich 40-year friendship and added meaningful new insights into the life of America’s third president.
Sumpter Priddy III earned his Bachelors Degree in the History of Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Masters from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. He has long been intrigued by the relationship between architecture, history and the decorative arts, and he is one of the most active researchers in the field. His rediscovery of numerous artisans whose work shaped taste in early America has contributed significantly to a larger understanding of the complexity of regional style. Recent research includes the careers and the products of craftsmen who came from around the globe to Washington, D.C. during the Federal period. Please join us in welcoming Sumpter!
MEMBERSHIP AND GUEST LIST IS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR. PLEASE REGISTER GUESTS WITH email@example.com. Fee for guests attending a one-time lecture is $15.