Forum showcasing all things Natchez

Published 12:05 am Monday, November 3, 2014

In September 1848, Reverend Richard Johnson of Talbotton, Ga., wrote about his travels through the American South to a friend in Massachusetts.

As one might expect, Johnson wrote about rolling cotton fields that extended almost to the horizon and the stately “Big Houses” that inflected those landscapes.

Even more compelling were his recollections of the people who inhabited those spaces: “In the halls of the wealthy and the hovels of the poor I find I am welcome and am gladly received. Every inhabitant embraces me with his own identity. Oh, this is a radiant and fruitful place. Here we are blessed with all things great and small.”

Email newsletter signup

Using Johnson’s narrative as a point of departure, the Pilgrimage Garden Club’s 37th annual Antiques Forum, “All Things Great and Small,” will explore objects and themes that are sometimes overlooked in the study of Southern material culture.

Lectures by Mimi Miller, Gene Cizik and Walter Ritchie will walk listeners through some of the architectural forms that framed and continue to shape southern life to the present day.

Baltimore-based conservator Matthew Mosca will share insights about historic paints, helping us understand how materials and finishes quite literally colored the ways that people experienced their worlds in the 18th and 19th centuries. Daniel Brooks and Graham Boettcher will share research about some of the exquisite objects that might have circulated in those spaces.

Finally, ceramic historian Robert Doares will offer insights into the unmarked French porcelain known as “Old Paris” that was favored by so many of Natchez’s elite residents in the mid-19th Century.

Optional visits to Cherry Grove, Cedar Grove, Auburn, Melrose and Longwood, as well as private tours of some of Natchez’s lesser-known architectural gems will round off the weekend.

Interested in participating? This year’s Antiques Forum begins this Thursday and concludes on Saturday.

All lectures will be hosted at the Natchez Eola Hotel in the grand ballroom.

For additional information or to register, visit us at


Katie Wood Kirchhoff is the director and curator of historic properties for the Pilgrimage Garden Club and a committee member for the 37th annual Natchez Antiques Forum.