Text Box: Williamsburg Garden Bench

A reproduction of a garden bench that you will see in the Governor’s Mansion garden in Williamsburg, VA.

Garden Bench Summary

· Mortise and tenon joints throughout

· Contoured back slats for seating comfort

· Comfortably shaped Arms

· Redwood or mahogany

· One-piece rear legs

· Pins or pegs to hold mortise and tenon joints

Colonial Williamsburg is full of great ideas on 18C furniture and architecture. We’ve visited many times over the last 35 years and each time we see items that we would like to reproduce for our home. Pieces reproduced include a Clothes Press, Knife Tray, Candle Holder, Batten Doors, Fence & Gate, Bookcases, Wall Shelves, Chippendale Desk and Bookcase, and Sawhorses. In a 1989 trip, the garden benches behind the Governor’s Palace caught our interest.  With tape measure and paper, I began to sketch out the shape and dimensions. Later in the day, we found a one-page description of these benches, which in summary stated:

 

The Colonial Williamsburg architects, in the 1930’s, designed benches for Colonial Williamsburg gardens based on eighteenth-century drawings and other sources (e.g., John Kip’s Britannia Illustrata).  The benches are well constructed and are made of wide lumber. Back slats are contoured making benches much more comfortable than most. Mortise and tenon construction is employed throughout.

63” long x 41 3/8” high x 19 7/8” depth. Mahogany wood, primed and painted with three coats white exterior paint.

This bench has many shapes and angles which add to its beauty and comfort. The seat is slightly sloped from front to back. This helps drain rain water off the multiple separated seat slats as these benches are made for weather exposure.   The high back is unique with its contoured shape. 

Reproduction of Williamsburg Garden Bench