The Inventory of Lucretia Constance Radcliffe: The Material World of Elites in Federal Period Charleston, South Carolina
This study couples the urban and plantation inventories of the Radcliffes of Charleston with extant woodwork, composition ornament, photographs and correspondence to provide an understanding of elite Federal period interiors in Charleston, South Carolina. From the urban inventory, it is clear that the Radcliffe house represented the upper end of Charleston residences in a lavish manner that is truly amazing. Although no other inventories of those Charlestonians living in the most elaborate architectural structures have surfaced, architectural indications are that there were at least three other dwellings in the city on a par with the Radcliffe house: the Middleton-Pinckney, Joseph Manigault and Nathaniel Russell houses. The Radcliffe plantation inventory provides great insights into the contrast made between the city and plantation residences of Charleston's Federal period elites. The plantation house appears like an English country house, where one could retreat, sit in comfort and live quietly in a less formal environment. This study is only a beginning, but it is hoped that it will encourage others to examine the documentation in order to enhance the story of the Radcliffes and their peers.
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