Interiors Tell the Tale Centuries Later: Wealthy Colonials Threw it all Away for the Revolution

Historian Judy Anderson Draws Intriguing Parallels Between Rebels and Their Décor

Three self-made, wealthy businessmen—two in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and one in Marblehead, Massachusetts—gambled, and lost, everything for the American Revolution. Before fomenting rebellion, the same three—Joseph Webb, Jr., Silas Deane and Jeremiah Lee—lavishly decorated their homes to levels previously unprecedented in their communities. In an upcoming lecture at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, historian Judy Anderson will draw intriguing parallels between the lives of Webb, Deane and Lee, and explain why the three aesthetes’ refined tastes compelled them to take part in the revolution, and why their roles in support of independence cost them their lives. Fortunately, their extravagant homes survive to tell the tale.

Admission to the lecture is free and donations will be accepted.

September 26, 2013.The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be preceded by a wine reception (by donation) at 6 p.m. and followed by a book signing.

Anderson’s illustrated lecture will explore the architecture and interiors of the Webb and Deane houses in relation to the extraordinary residence of Colonel Jeremiah Lee, one of the wealthiest men in mid-18th century Massachusetts. Anderson will focus on the textiles, wall coverings and decorative finishes that would have embellished the houses, including bold and exuberant block-printed wallpapers imported from London, and exceptional English mural papers whose hand-painted, large-format scenes simulated engravings in the home of Lee.  Those rare and striking wall coverings would have created some of the most opulent interiors of their era.

Anderson suggests that by the 1770s, men like Webb, Deane and Lee realized that the ever-increasing taxes and trade restrictions imposed by the English crown would soon make it impossible to maintain the lifestyles to which they had become accustomed. The logical alternative? Join the revolution. During her lecture, Anderson will reveal the unraveling of the lives of Webb, Deane and Lee while illuminating their exquisite taste in décor.

Anderson is a social, cultural and architectural historian who worked with the Lee Mansion for 16 years, including nearly a decade as its only curator. Now independent, she gives architectural walking tours of Marblehead, which retains more than two-thirds of the nearly 550 houses that stood at the time of the Revolution.  In 2012 she published a book on the Lee Mansion and its exceptional wallpapers, “Glorious  Splendor: The 18th-Century Wallpapers in the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Marblehead, Massachusetts.”

Julie Winkel, Media Coordinator
203-815-0800, [email protected]