The first rule for valuing House-Carpenters work in the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia’s 1786 Rule Book states “Drawing Designs, making out Bills of Scantling, collecting Materials, and sticking up Stuff, are to be charged by the Carpenter in proportion to the trouble”. In other words, the charge for this work must be determined by an hourly or daily rate rather than a uniform scale of pricing for work established by the Carpenters’ Company.

Christopher Storb is the Dietrich American Foundation Project Conservator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


More information is in the first post.


8 Responses to “About”

  1. I’m a painter in Brooklyn NY and visited and photographed Mt Pleasant in 2007. I began working on a series of large-scale watercolors of the interiors called “Chambers.” I am enchanted with the 18th century feeling of the place (or “came to grips” emotionally with history as you cite Paul Goldberger’s advice).

    The images and historic narrative in your posts are fantastic–such as noting the current interest in Nevell’s account book, and sharing that stereographic 1876 photograph, wow! How interesting that the director of the museum and his wife lived there in the 20’s. The aerial photo from the 20’s is great too. I look forward to more.

    (P.S. I came across your blog after seeing a write-up about it on Janet Blyberg’s blog.)

    1. Thanks for writing. Always interesting to hear from others who take an interest in the place. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I had to spend so much time there – different light at different times of day and different seasons.

      No other image places the site in its landscape like that aerial photo. It is amazing. Thanks to Ken Finkel for that one.

      Would love to see the watercolors. Can they be seen on the web?


        This is a link to my website and to the watercolor series based on Mt Pleasant.

        I plan to add more to the series early next year.

  2. This is a great blog, but can we have more posts please 🙂 I find that keeping posts short helps me to publish regularly without it becoming too much work.

    Conservation is such an excellent subject for a blog, as everyone loves to get a peek behind the scenes, behind the wainscot, behind the paint layer, etc.

    1. Emile, thank you for your kind words. I should apologize for not mentioning this before now – the Philadelphia Museum of Art is in the process of incorporating this blog into their website. I expect it to go live in a week or so. Several new entries will be included when that happens and I will continue to post entries on a regular basis. You’re so right about about the length.
      I’ll post here when the new site is up – look for it in the shortly here:

      1. That’s excellent – wish my organisation had got that far 🙂

  3. Jay Robert Stiefel Says:


    Thank you for both recent postings on furniture from John Head. By this time, you have probably worked on more Head furniture than some of his journeymen!

    I am aware of one other cherry clock case from his shop. Consistent with your comment, it has brass-mounts on its hood columns to complement the brass surround to the oculus: the Peter Stretch clock, catalogue no. 52, in Don Fennimore and Frank Hohmann’s Stretch, America’s First Family of Clockmakers.

    I look forward to our continuing work with Alan Andersen on our John Head Project: Part II article, which will address furniture attributed to his shop. In the meantime, as you are aware, but others may not be, I am completing a book on the Head account book for the American Philosophical Society. It wishes to publish it this year to mark the tercentenary of Head’s arrival in Philadelphia.

    Therefore, should any of your devoted readers have Head-related information that they may wish to share for either publication, now’s the time!


    1. Jay, thank you for joining and your comment.
      You are indeed correct, Cat. no. 52 in Fennimore and Hohmann shows another cherry case attributed to John Head housing a Peter Stretch movement! So two clock cases of cherry but no other furniture forms in that wood. The second cherry clock was discovered during the research for Fennimore and Hohmann’s book and according to family history the clock has remained in the family of the second owner John Lisle (1726-1807). This is what comes from not carrying that 8 pound catalogue from work to home for various research projects! It is now at my house where it will stay.
      We look forward the publication of your work on the Head account book as well as the digitized version of Head’s account by the APS.

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