Williamsburg, a growing town between the James and York rivers, becomes the capital of Great Britain’s largest colony, Virginia.
By the mid-18th century, Williamsburg is a bustling town full of businesses, craft trades, and politics. Store owners advertise goods imported from England, such as creamware, fabrics from as far as India, and “a very great variety of almost every article that can be thought of (as) suitable for this country.”
Although Williamsburg played strategic roles in the American Revolution, it becomes a sleepy town after the capital moves upriver to Richmond. The once-busy city remains frozen in time.
The rector of Williamsburg’s historic Bruton Parish Church sees that the city’s original buildings and significant sites were in bad shape and at risk of being lost. He makes it his mission to secure funding for the preservation and restoration of the town.
Philanthropist and history-enthusiast
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., agrees to support and fund the restoration. Rockefeller sends a coded telegram authorizing purchase of an “antique” – the two-story Ludwell-Paradise House on Duke of Gloucester Street.
As research and excavations occur on site, discussions begin about creating reproduction china, silverware, and furnishings for exhibition buildings. The first collaboration is with Wedgwood, which meticulously reproduced creamware based on shards excavated on site.
As Colonial Williamsburg welcomes crowds to step back in time, visitors, architects, and interior designers plead for the opportunity to use colors, designs, and materials used on site. Williamsburg Reproductions, a program of “authorized products,” is established to enable visitors to echo this rediscovered aesthetic in their homes.
The inaugural Craft House catalog is sent to subscribers longing for home furnishings from Colonial Williamsburg. Visitors to the historic town could shop for products at the newly opened Craft House store, near the Williamsburg Inn.
The return of troops from World War II leads to a boom in home construction. WILLIAMSBURG product offerings rise to meet demand, becoming synonymous with American traditional style, the leading decorating style for decades to come. Notable partnerships include Schumacher, Kittinger, Katzenbach & Warren, and Friedman Brothers, all known for impeccable quality and craftsmanship.
Williamsburg Shops, franchised “outposts of restored Williamsburg,” come to fruition, starting at B. Altman’s in New York. Vignettes of high-quality WILLIAMSBURG - furniture, china, and giftware share the Colonial Williamsburg story across the nation.
WILLIAMSBURG licenses Mottahedeh & Co. to reproduce fine porcelain dinnerware.
The first pattern, Duke of Gloucester, based on a 1770s Worcester dinner service owned by the brother of King George III, becomes a fan favorite. Williamsburg story across the nation.
Our iconic Garden Images pattern is introduced, fusing period botanical illustrations into one blossoming design. To date, this rich floral is WILLIAMSBURG’s best-selling pattern, enjoying many lives through fabric, bedding, wallpaper, tableware, and more.
Williamsburg: Decorating with Style,
now coveted among lovers of traditional design, is published. With images of well-appointed rooms and architectural details around Colonial Williamsburg, this collected vision is the first book devoted exclusively to Colonial Williamsburg’s influence on design.
WILLIAMSBURG products evolve from pure reproductions to designs inspired and interpreted from Colonial Williamsburg’s rich archives. This new “trend meets tradition” approach paves the way for historic designs to seamlessly flow into a casual lifestyle. Williamsburg Marketplace, our first online catalog, makes 18th-century-inspired products easier than ever to access.
The WLLIAMSBURG brand is awarded the Americas Mart Icon Medal of Excellence Honor.
New technological research of 18th-century paint leads to an exciting paint collection with Benjamin Moore. This palette of 144 historically-accurate colors celebrates the richness of hues that filled homes as the United States was formed.
WILLIAMSBURG announces the Designer in Residence program to celebrate the historic and iconic design influence of Colonial Williamsburg. In the first of this collaborative initiative, designer Anthony Baratta reimagines the interior of a 1750s house with a blend of classic history and fresh Americana, garnering coverage in Architectural Digest, Veranda, Country Living, and more.
WILLIAMSBURG Nicholson Green by Benjamin Moore
WILLIAMSBURG Arcadia Crimson by Caskata Artisanal Tableware
WILLIAMSBURG William & Mary matelasse by Royal Heritage Home
WILLIAMSBURG Nicholson Green by Benjamin Moore
Since 1936, WILLIAMSBURG has brought the timeless designs of the 18th century to life. As the product licensing program of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, we remain dedicated to sharing vibrant stories of America’s past for future generations.