Things That Make Me Happy: Wood Graining Kit at Colonial Williamsburg

Grain painted Hepplewhite desk. Cowan Auctions.

Grain painting was used to enrich lesser woods. In the absence of more elegant materials, American houses made extensive use of wood and stucco, costumed as mahoghany or granite. This assemblage over time of brushes, combs, stencils, and rollers documents the working life of the tools’ owner.







Grain Painter’s Kit. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. 1990.708.1, 1-7.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.