Framing Williamsburg's Doors
photography by Barbara Lombardi
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
More Doors of Williamsburg