Clothespress, 1775, made by John Selden, Norfolk, Virginia 


Hurst, Ronald L. and Jonathan Prown. Southern Furniture 1680-1830: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection . Williamsburg : Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1997, esp. 389-393. 

Sweeney, Kevin M. "High-Style Vernacular: Lifestyles of the Colonial Elite," Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the Eighteenth-Century . University Press of Virginia , 1994, pp. 1-58. 

Isaac, Rhys. The Transformation of Virginia , 1740-1790 . New York : Norton, 1982. 

Baumgarten, Linda. What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal Period America . Williamsburg : Colonial Williamsburg , 2002. 

Breen, T. H. "'Baubles of Britain': The American and Consumer Revolutions of the Eighteenth Century," Of Consuming Interests , edited by Cary Carson, et al. Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 1994.


1. What was this object used for? Discuss the growing consumer culture of the mid-to-late eighteenth century? Discuss the relationship between consumer goods and the brewing political crisis. 

2. Designed in the British neat-and-plain style, what does the existence of such a high-style modish piece at Shirley Plantation in Charles City County , Virginia , tell us about the habits and modes of Virginia planters in the years just before the Revolution? 

3. Using the database of Virginia probate inventories, in what room would such an object likely be located and what other pieces of furniture would be there as well? 

4. As this object was often used to store clothing, discuss what kinds of clothing an elite man in late colonial Virginia would likely have owned. What kinds of clothing did he wear on different occasions? To what extent did clothing make the man?