2The Early Colonial Period 1608-1720 Life in early colonial America focused on simple survival. Shelters were crudely built and time was spent clearing land for planting, providing food and making clothing.The colonies were at first almost wholly dependent on imports until merchant and skilled craftsman classes emerged.
3Early Colonial Architecture Early colonists lived in caves and lean-to shelters in the early years and only began to build cottages and houses when time and craftsmen became availableWith the establishment of permanent settlements in the new world, life became a bit easier. Colonists paid attention to luxury items only after they had sufficient leisure and money.
4Early Colonial Architecture Architecture in the colonies was derived from European examples and in the early years was basic and crudely built. As survival became more certain, more attention was paid to refinement in all areas of life.Small cottages replaced caves and lean-to shelters as settlers had more time to construct them.This example has clapboard siding, a thatched roof and a chimney made from twigs finished with wattle-and-daub, which was highly flammable.
5Early Colonial Architecture The Medieval half-timbering shown in this hall-and-loft cottage was a sophisticated and skilled technique not available to most colonists.Heat and a place to cook was provided by a brazier and smoke allowed to find its own way out of the building.
6Early Colonial Architecture Construction methods included traditional European timber frame covered in wattle & daub or split clapboards.
7Early ColonialDevelopment in building involved subtle changes in materials and techniques until life was more settled.
8Early Colonial Architecture The small one-room-with-loft is typical of very early houses. The photo at bottom is of the reconstructed Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts.
9Early Colonial Architecture The New England ‘Hall and Parlor’ plan pictured here is copied from European examples, and has an overhanging second story, small windows and a central chimney.
10Early Colonial Architecture The New England Medieval plan evolved from the earliest examples of small cottages.
12Early Colonial Architecture This style is also know as a Garrison Colonial, and has steep pitched roofs that were essential for allowing rain and snow to run off easily.The ell or addition at the back probably houses a kitchen and was added after the main block of the house was constructed, turning the house into a saltbox.
13Early Colonial Architecture The New England Saltbox developed from the hall-and-parlor or Garrison style with the addition of an ell or lean-to on the back.
14Early Colonial Architecture The Salt Box is named for its straightforward and functional shape that echoes containers used in the colonial period to store salt.The roof in front is shorter than that in the back, and has a steep pitch to shed rain & snow.Entrances and windows tend to be symmetrical and in the north the house is usually wood.
15Early Colonial Architecture The saltbox occasionally had an addition shed to extend usable space even further.In the southern colonies, the saltbox was called a ‘cat-slide’.
16Early Colonial Architecture The Allen House in Massachusetts is an example of the Saltbox style, and has a long back-sloping roof.The shingled saltbox at bottom is also a New England example with a central chimney and fireplace block. This is typical of northern houses where conserving heat was important.
17Early Colonial Architecture Southern ‘hall & parlor’ houses were usually made of brick, a popular and very common building material in the south.Notice that chimneys and fireplaces are located on the outside walls to minimize the retention of unwanted heat in the warmer months.The center hall with doors at both ends allowed for cross-ventilation.
18With the addition of a second floor, the hall and parlor plan evolved into the colonial farmhouse, then into the New England Large which is basically Georgian without the fancy details.
19Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Furniture was the last priority for settlers working to establish homesteads, and before 1650 was crude and boxy. Later, craftsmen emigrated and established trades.The joiner was responsible for making furniture until the late 1600’s. The name came from the construction technique used to make chests and chairs: stiles & rails joined together with flat panels set into grooves that formed the sides and fronts of furniture pieces. This allowed for furniture that was lighter in weight and could expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.
20Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Cabinetmaking appeared late in the 17th century and describes the technique of constructing furniture from solid boards. The cabinetmaker also worked with veneered lumber and sawn boards (rather than the stile-rail-panel method of the joiner)The turner made chairs and other pieces requiring turning on a foot-operated lathe. This craftsman turned legs, spindles, tool handles and wooden dishes called treenware. Turners, along with carpenters, were the traditional makers of furniture until the joiners & cabinetmakers developed their craft.
21Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Furniture types were largely drawn from Elizabethan and Jacobean examples from England, and much of it was imported until the mid-1600s.The court cupboard was a luxury item used to display treasured belongings, and followed English examples. Most other storage took the form of chests that were carved, painted or paneled. This example is a Tulip Chest that is both carved & painted.
22Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Another type of chest made in Massachusetts colony was carved in a stylized floral design with guilloche like detail. Most of these pieces were made from oak and consequently hard to carve; detail tends to be simple rather than fine.This piece is sometimes referred to as a Sunflower Chest.
23Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Tables were found in many forms, including the trestle, turned leg tables, draw tables, gate-leg tables and chair tables.At top right is a gate-leg table with spindle turned legs. Below is a trestle table that could be knocked down and stored when not in use. The top was either a solid piece of wood or several separate boards.
24Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Stools and benches were by far the most typical form of seating, but as life became easier chairs became more numerous.The wainscot chair was derived from English examples (or actually imported) and used stile-rail-panel construction. Notice the arcaded panel on the back of this wainscot chair.
25Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 Top: The so-called Carver chair was named after a colonial governor of Massachusetts and is constructed of turned spindles and has a rush or board seat.Bottom: The Brewster is also named after a colonial governor, and differs from the Carver chair in the number of spindles, which also fill the space under the arms and under the front seat.
26Early Colonial Furniture 1608-1720 This William and Mary style highboy is decorated with Japanning, the European interpretation of oriental decoration usually painted in multiple colors on a natural wood, black or red background (to imitate Oriental lacquer).This type of sophisticated decoration would have appeared first in imports late in the period.
27American Early Colonial A similar highboy, also in the William & Mary manner, has trumpet legs and bun feet. The wood of the case is maple, with a darker stain on the legs.