John Shearer was a Scottish immigrant who made furniture in Maryland and Virginia between 1790 and 1820. Shearer’s tables, desks, chests and clocks often contain messages that celebrate Britain’s naval victories and proclaim his loyalty to the British crown. In many cases, the messages were hidden or disguised.
Author Elizabeth A. Davison will talk about Shearer and his work in a lecture at the Library of Congress titled “A True North Britain: Hidden Messages and Meaning in John Shearer’s Furniture” at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1
, in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
Davison is the author of “The Furniture of John Shearer 1790-1820: A True North Britain in the Southern Backcountry” (January 2011). A book-signing will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed. The event is sponsored by the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division.
Shearer often signed his furniture with the phrase “A True North Britain.” Fifty-two pieces of furniture by John Shearer are known to exist; 20 of these are currently on exhibit at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Museum in Washington, D.C. through February 2011.
Davison is an independent scholar, historian and guest curator of the current exhibition at the DAR Museum. She is a graduate of the Smithsonian/Parsons program in the History of the Decorative Arts.
The Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference service and collection development in the Main, Local History & Genealogy, and Microform reading rooms, and sponsors lectures in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
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