Drayton Hall’s City Speaks Series presents a talk by Margaret Pritchard, Deputy Chief Curator, Colonial Williamsburg on Nature and Landscape: Shaping Early America’s Identity.
America’s exotic landscape and discoveries of unfamiliar species of flora and fauna fueled European imagination for nearly two centuries prior to the American Revolution. Nature had long been used as a means to categorize and understand the world in which they lived and America provided a laboratory for learned men across the ocean to substantiate or dispel their own theories and beliefs. American colonists were eager to supply their foreign correspondents with observations, specimens, and seeds.
While Europeans enthusiastically solicited information and specimens from the New World, they regarded America as inferior, causing Americans to respond defensively. After the Revolution, Americans, led by men such as Thomas Jefferson, Charles Willson Peale, and the ornithologist Alexander Wilson, approached their natural environment with a greater sense of confidence.
This talk will describe how Americans observed and recorded their nature and landscape in ways that justified their own unique beliefs and values.
A light reception follows and is included for all guests.
Drayton Hall’s City Speaks Series is an outreach program of Drayton Hall Preservation Trust and is held monthly during the spring and fall seasons in locations in downtown Charleston.