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Pebble Hill's Exquisite Cabinetry

A trip to Pebble Hill is always a learning experience. From the largest item to the smallest detail, wonders await the curious as they stroll through South Georgia’s magnificent plantation.

The two built-in breakfront bookcases in the Big Room of the Main House are custom-made masterpieces of the furniture maker’s art. Each is lesson in western thought and design. Built in the first half of the twentieth century, they are in the tradition of English furniture designer Thomas Sheraton. Sheraton created a light neo-classical style using design motifs from ancient Greek and Roman architecture and applied them to the lifestyle needs of eighteenth century Englishmen. Sheraton published his designs in a series of pattern books that have influenced furniture manufacturing since their publication in 1791. Sheridan’s style is magnificently showcased by the design of the built-in bookcases in the Big Room.

Each one is topped with a swan’s neck cresting, decorated with egg-and-dart and dental molding. These design motifs date to 6th century BC Greek architecture. The mullions borrow their design influence from fan light designs created by seventeenth century architects, who were referencing elements from Roman wall paintings.

Additionally, the influence of Pebble Hill’s mistress, Miss Pansy, can be seen in these custom pieces of furniture. The horse head finials on the cresting are two of Pansy’s favorite horses, Mighty and Sunrise. They were carved by South Georgia sculptor, Gene Pullen. Pullen lived at Pebble Hill for several years, carving many works that are located across the plantation. The marquetry designs that are inlaid within the lower door panels depict some pastime favorites of the Hanna family, including horse racing, fox hunting, steeplechasing, and horse shows. In wood furniture, marquetry is created by inlaying small pieces of different colored wood, followed by adding intricate details of paint. The mahogany door panels are decorated with marquetry and accented with cross banding of satin wood. This technique is also used to create the race tracks in the marguetry designs.

The bookcases are not filled with literature, but rather with Miss Pansy’s silver trophies won at horse shows and other sporting events. From afar, the overall impression is breathtaking while up-close the intricate details are exquisite.

 



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