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Merchants and Masterpieces: The Arts, Crafts and Tastemakers of 18th Century Newport, Rhode Island

John R. Tschirch, Visiting Curator of Urban History, Newport Historical Society; Architectural Historian, Author, and Photographer

Reservations: greenwichdecorativearts@gmail.com

As one of the great seaports of colonial America, Newport was a major center for architecture, furniture and painting, all noted of the boldness and luxury of their forms, colors and materials. Magnificent public landmarks and grand houses built by merchant grandees created a cityscape of Georgian splendor. The Townsend and Goddard families made legendary pieces of furniture in the finest mahoganies from the Caribbean and Gilbert Stuart, famed for his portrait of George Washington, began his early career by executing portraits of Newport notables.

Map of Newport in 1777. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Map of Newport in 1777. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.



Detail. The Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Photo: John Tschirch

Detail. The Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Photo: John Tschirch




Detail. Colony House (1741). Photo: John Tschirch

Detail. Colony House (1741). Photo: John Tschirch