Modern Classics: The Williamsburg Collection from Campania, Part 1

History, architecture, and a blend of many cultures influence American outdoor décor. The creative artistry in cast stone planters, statuary, and fountains varies widely. Those who have training in these classic sculpting skills are always looking for fresh ideas and historical influences. In a series of posts, we will share how Campania International created the Williamsburg Collection of garden accessories, using the vast design resources of an important museum of American history and culture.

The distinctive style of American gardens in the 18th century celebrated form over ornamentation. The result is an aesthetic that feels decidedly contemporary, even though its roots lie deep in our own history.

This is the first in a multi-part series exploring American outdoor décor and the Williamsburg Collection created by Campania International.

Historical Williamsburg

The 18th-century capital city of Williamsburg, Virginia is a town where the past comes alive. The history of the United States in the years before and during the American Revolution is visible everywhere in Williamsburg. Called the Revolutionary City, in its prime it was the capital of Britain’s largest and wealthiest colony in the New World. Williamsburg hosted patriots of the day, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and was a center of thought and culture.

Colonial WilliamsburgThe city was designed with formal streets thoughtfully laid out to accommodate its public halls, residential homes, and trade areas. Another key point of the city’s layout was the importance of its gardens. What you come to understand is that gardening was more than a hobby – it was an art form. The town’s renowned gardens, both casual or formal in style, still bloom around the historical buildings of Colonial Williamsburg.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, maintains the historic city today. Franklin D. Roosevelt called its main avenue “the most beautiful mile in American history”. Not surprisingly, for decades homeowners have embraced this uniquely American look, replicating its buildings throughout the country.

American outdoor décor

Colonial Williamsburg contains a vast archive of 70,000 pieces of American folk art and English and American Antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Foundation has faithfully preserved or recreated the gardens, structures, and artifacts seen throughout the area. When the artists of Campania International started looking for ideas for garden décor, they quickly found inspiration everywhere.

For example, this English, white salt-glazed stoneware container, or cachepot, is reminiscent of those often seen in an 18th-century greenhouse. The stately Williamsburg Orangery Urn Planter is created by removing the lion heads to simplify the design. The design has become a best-seller and customer favorite.

Another popular and inspired planter is the Tayloe House Urn. In this design, the architectural detailing of the Williamsburg Tayloe House Urn captures the uptown sophistication of the attractive townhouse owned by Williamsburg resident Colonel John Tayloe, one of the wealthiest men in colonial Virginia.

More to come…

Stay tuned, as we’ll be sharing more information and history that inspired these Williamsburg creations in the coming weeks and months. The process of how an artist interprets historical items and then sculpts to create something completely new is exciting!

Look for more information on these Williamsburg Collection benches, fountains statues and so much more. We’ve got some fascinating historical information for you. We even have a sneak peek at some new and upcoming items later this year!

Posted by Jean Widner of the team.