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May 8, 2007

CW artisans fashion gifts for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip

Two gifts from Colonial Williamsburg historic trades artisans--a sterling saffron pot and a specially bound copy of “1607: Jamestown and the New World”—were made for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, during their May 3-4 visit to Williamsburg.

“Colonial Williamsburg’s tradesmen are the finest. Their workmanship and attention to detail are impeccable,” said Colonial Williamsburg President Colin G. Campbell. “It is an honor to be able to present such examples of their craftsmanship on behalf of the Foundation to Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh as tokens of our gratitude for their time here.”

Master silversmith George Cloyed reproduced the pot from a 1737-38 British sterling saffron pot in Colonial Williamsburg’s collections. The reproduction sterling saffron pot, which took more than 100 hours to make, measures three inches tall and six inches wide, including the handle. Journeyman silversmith Giles Todd crafted the ebony handle and finial, and assisted the master silversmith in other aspects of making the pot.

Journeyman silversmith Preston Jones and interpreter Bobbie Saye prepared raw materials for the pot, and apprentice silversmith Steve Beauter assisted the master silversmith with soldering the pot in the forge. Journeyman engraver Lynn Zelesnikar engraved a decorative design on the shoulder and lid of the pot and the royal cipher on one side of the pot.

The pot was presented in an English walnut box that is 6 ¾ inches x 5 inches x 4 inches made by master toolmaker George Wilson. Journeyman toolmaker Jon Laubach made the brass fittings, feet, knob and hook closure.

Jay Gaynor, Colonial Williamsburg’s director of historic trades, said the pot was chosen for several reasons. “We wanted to give something that represented our capabilities and that we patterned after an original in our collections of antiques,” he said. “We wanted to give something that was precious. Precious not only because it is made of silver but because it’s a gem of an object.”

John Davis, the Foundation’s Samuel and Pauline Clarke Curator, said in the 18th century, saffron was considered to have restorative properties and was brewed in these diminutive teapots. “We believe the saffron pot is a more personal, not institutional, gift,” he said. “It’s also very feminine since it was used in social rituals by the ladies.”

In addition, the Queen received a specially bound copy of “1607: Jamestown and the New World,” a compilation of essays from “Colonial Williamsburg,” the journal of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, written by historians and journalists and lavishly illustrated with period illustrations and dramatically reconstructed scenes. Master bookbinder Bruce Plumley, who put 100 hours into the book, based the design on an early 17th-century ship’s log.

The book was bound in Moroccan goatskin in terra cotta. A matching strap with brass rivets goes around the book and is secured with a brass buckle. It features marble paper fly leaves and roma paper doublures with leather joints. The spine is highlighted with four raised bands and Medieval tie downs, both in 24 karat gold. The presentation box featured the same characteristics as the book so when sitting on a shelf it will resemble the book. Master toolmaker George Wilson and journeyman toolmaker Jon Laubach made the brass features for the book to Plumley’s specifications.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades program is the largest and most diverse museum-operated trades program in the world. Its purpose is to preserve and present 18th-century trades as they were practiced in colonial America and England. Working in period shops, using period techniques and tools to make re-creations of period products, the Foundation’s tradespeople continue these trades as living occupations, presenting the lives of working men and women and the importance of technology in everyday life.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture—stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121