For more than 30 years, Winterthur has collaborated with some of the nation’s finest firms to offer home furnishings and gifts inspired by its world-renowned collection of American antiques, the decorative arts library, and the nearly 1,000-acre estate. Similar to licensed products programs at other institutions, such as Williamsburg and Historic Charleston, Winterthur licenses more than 40 companies to create products that are inspired, adapted from, or reproduced from a design in Winterthur’s museum, garden, or library resources, approved by a team of museum professionals. By purchasing Winterthur Licensed Products, consumers can furnish their home and garden with a wide variety of products that embody the beauty, quality, and style of Winterthur founder Henry Francis du Pont.
Licensed companies include those that make furniture, decorative objects, and framed art, but did you know about some of our more unusual licensees?
Andover Fabrics based in New York City, designs, prints, and sells cotton fabrics for quilters and home sewers. A brand new Winterthur pattern is based on a quilt made in 1808, probably in support of the millennial preacher Joanna Southcott, whose name along with the date 1808 is embroidered in the center. It is pieced from a variety of the most fashionable printed furnishing cottons of that period.
On a much grander scale, Connor Homes has designed four houses for Winterthur. Connor Homes designs and builds mill-built houses. All wooden construction materials are cut and components fabricated in a 100,000-square-foot factory in Middlebury, Vermont. This includes all framing materials, stairs, kitchens, molding, etc. The components are then shipped to the home owner’s job site and assembled.
All the homes may be customized to suit a purchaser’s needs, but all are based on Winterthur design sources. The Gate House, for example, is based on the original Winterthur gate house used during Henry Francis du Pont’s lifetime.
And, in the realm of the unexpected, during a recent visit to Winterthur, Chris Altland, owner of York County Firelocks, closely examined a rare pair of eighteenth-century pistols in the Winterthur collection. The pair, attributed to Frederick Zorger and dated 1765, are considered to be, “…the best known and most respected of surviving pistols” according to Don Fennimore, author of Iron at Winterthur. York County Firelocks will be producing an exacting copy of the Zorger pistols in the form of a flintlock kit for sale in 2014.
For more information on Winterthur Licensed Products and a complete list of Winterthur licensed manufacturers, please visit our web page.
Post by Kristin Langerak DeMesse, Winterthur’s Director of Licensed products; Delaware native; graduate of University of Delaware in art history.