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.
In 1808, architect B. Henry Latrobe oversaw the completion of his design of a house in Philadelphia for merchant William Waln and his wife Mary Wilcocks Waln. The exterior epitomized the restrained aesthetic of Latrobe’s residences, while inside he devised an elaborate scheme for the centerpiece of the house—a drawing room and adjoining dining room on the south side. To ensure the entirety of its aesthetics, Latrobe designed the furniture for the rooms to embody the knowledge, refinement, and aspirations of its owners. The severe Klismos forms referenced furniture of the Greeks and Romans; the painted decoration in a black, red, yellow, and gold palette evoked the romance of the painted decorations found on Greek and Roman pottery and wall paintings; and the upholstery combined the finest materials and elements available to embellish and soften the furniture and make it relevant in an early nineteenth century Philadelphia interior. As the house was demolished in 1848, the furniture remains the only suggestion of one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated interiors. This presentation will present, after years of study and investigation, the impact of this extraordinary furniture in early 19th century America—where sophistication was a powerful tool of influence.
Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley is The Montgomery-Garvan Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She received a master’s degree from the University of Delaware-Winterthur Program in Early American Culture in 1999. She oversees the gallery installations of early American decorative arts and is a well-known lecturer on Philadelphia decorative arts. Mrs. Kirtley serves on the Curatorial Advisory Board of the United States Senate’s Commission on Art, is a trustee of The Andalusia Foundation, which oversees the Biddle family’s Delaware River estate, and is a Governor of The Decorative Arts Trust. Please join us in extending Alex a warm welcome.
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. MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION AND CALENDAR AVAILABLE AT OUR SITE: ALEXANDRIAASSOCIATION.ORG.
"Painted Splendor: The Philadelphia Furniture of B. Henry Latrobe and George Bridport"
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