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Framing Williamsburg's Doors

photography by Barbara Lombardi

Secretary's
Office, site supervisor Ben Knecht

Secretary's Office, site supervisor Ben Knecht

All the doors open upon the past. Yesterday is just across the threshold. Raise your foot to step into the hall, and your shoe falls in the eighteenth century. Left and right, the rooms are filled with claw-foot tables and silver-gilt mirrors; peopled with men in wigs and waistcoats, women in mob caps and gowns; and redolent with wood smoke. Thumb the latch to go into the street, and enter a town where clip-clopping horses draw painted coaches, the apothecary stocks leeches, and the militia musters on the green.

In Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, the portals of the homes, shops, and public buildings are gateways to the 1700s, openings on a time and a place that by the pages of the calendar are centuries distant, but in the heart's time-keeping are but a beat away.

Elaborate as the wrought-iron double span guarding the Governor's Palace forecourt, handsome as the rubbed-brick surround at the Secretary's Office, rough as the weathered boards that swing morning's light into the blacksmith's shop, sculpted, arched, and paneled, they are, as forms, objects to pause to admire. As metaphors, they are more. Through them, you and I enter an era of aspiration, experiment, and discovery, of experience remembered and inherited in common.

Photographer Barbara Lombardi this year reframed them—hinge, casing, sill, and lock—in the lens of her camera. Adding light, mood, and models, she gives us a closer look at a dozen Williamsburg doors.

— J. Hunter Barbour

Governor's
Palace, journeyman silversmith Preston Jones

Governor's Palace, journeyman silversmith Preston Jones

Bruton
Parish Church, interpreter Antoinette Brennan

Bruton Parish Church, interpreter Antoinette Brennan

Blacksmith's
shop, journeyman Sheldon Browder

Blacksmith's shop, journeyman Sheldon Browder

William
Lightfoot House, interpreter Karen Schlicht

William Lightfoot House, interpreter Karen Schlicht

Cabinetmaker's
shop, apprentice Andy Chappell-Dick

Cabinetmaker's shop, apprentice Andy Chappell-Dick

Saddle
and Harnessmaker's shop, journeymen Jay Howlett and Jim Kladder

Saddle and Harnessmaker's shop, journeymen Jay Howlett and Jim Kladder

Raleigh
Tavern, interpreter Greg Jones

Raleigh Tavern, interpreter Greg Jones

Gaol,
interpreter Dan Moore

Gaol, interpreter Dan Moore

Ludwell-Paradise
House, interpreter Harriott Lomax

Ludwell-Paradise House, interpreter Harriott Lomax

Governor's
Palace Kitchen, apprentice Susan Holler

Governor's Palace Kitchen, apprentice Susan Holler

The
Magazine, interpreter James Smith

The Magazine, interpreter James Smith





More Doors of Williamsburg


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