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February 28, 2003

Colonial Williamsburg Publishes Definitive Book of Pewter in the Colonial Chesapeake Region

It took the form of pear-shaped teapots, dinner plates, spoons and tankards. Think of it as a common material found in most British and American homes of the 17th and 18th centuries. Pewter, a metal used by our ancestors in nearly every aspect of life, also symbolizes the transfer of European culture to colonial America and the distribution of British wares worldwide.

“Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg,” the latest volume in the Colonial Williamsburg Decorative Arts Series, presents a vast array of forms and styles, indicative of the range of goods available in early America, especially the Chesapeake region of Virginia. The book is a handsome companion to the “Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg” exhibition, open through Feb. 5, 2005 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

Author John D. Davis, curator of metals at Colonial Williamsburg for 38 years, shares his expertise in more than 400 object entries and nearly 1,000 photographs and illustrations. The 360-page work is divided into six sections: lighting devices, dining wares, drinking vessels, tea and coffee equipage, household and personal accessories and religious objects. Davis chronicles the development of basic forms and changes over time, in addition to summarizing the rise and fall of the British pewter industry.

Collectors, scholars and students as well as aficionados of the past will appreciate “Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg” for its design and its comprehensive examination of a world-class collection assembled by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation during the past 75 years.

“Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg” is published in association with University Press of New England. Sara Lee Corporation provided generous underwriting support for the book and the pewter exhibition. “Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg” (ISBN: 0-87935-218-3) is available for $70 at Colonial Williamsburg retail outlets, including Williamsburg Booksellers at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. The volume also may be purchased through Colonial Williamsburg’s direct marketing department by telephone at (800) 446-9240 or by accessing the e-commerce site at

Known worldwide as the nation’s largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg is a not-for-profit educational institution that operates the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg is located just 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free (800) HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281