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Dining Room

Place Made:
Berkeley County South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
Accession Number:
This woodwork was removed from a house built for Thomas Porcher (1796-1843) and Catherine (Gaillard) Porcher (1795-1874) near Pinopolis in Berkeley County, South Carolina.

An article in the MESDA Journal by Katherine McCarthy Watts identifed the families of enslaved craftspeople, including men named Sharloe, Jemmy, Jupiter, Cyrus, and Dick. Katherine McCarthy Watts, “Decoding the Woodwork of White Hall: A Newtwork of Enslaved Carpenters and French Huguenots”, The Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Vol. 41, 2020.

The house as originally built followed the plan of a Charleston single-house with a parlor and dining room on the main floor separated by a stair hall; a long piazza ran alongside the house. Front and back chambers likely occupied the second and third (attic) floors. In the later nineteenth century a T-shaped addition was made to the piazza side of the house.

Unfortunately the house stood in the path of the Santee-Cooper River Valley hydroelectric project. Prior to inundation the house was documented for the Historic American Buildings Survey. The house site is now at the bottom of Lake Moultrie.

This woodwork was salvaged from the house prior to flooding and stored until 1959 when it was sold to Frank L. Horton for the museum. In 2009 Susan Buck examined the woodwork looking for evidence of its original paint color. We worked with Erika Sanchez-Goodwillie to mix handmade linseed oil paint based on Susan’s analysis. The closest commercial color match is Benjamin Moore OC-25 “Cloud Cover.”

The room was reinstalled in 2015 as a space for the display of hand painted wallpaper from outside of Augusta, Georgia (MESDA acc. 2707). It is not connected with this architecture.

Credit Line:
Original Installation: Frank L. Horton; Renovations: The Richard C. von Hess Foundation