Colonial Williamsburg Resorts Blog

Williamsburg Inn Tree Trimming in Action

The stately tree in our lobby is trimmed with custom, handmade ornaments that recall elements of the Regency period in England from 1811 until 1820. At the top sits the striking Prince of Wales crown which commemorates one of the great art patrons of that period.

The ornaments were either exclusively designed for, or adapted as original designs for, the Williamsburg Inn and will never be reproduced. The designs are credited to Susan Winther, Director of Design for Colonial Williamsburg from 1975 until 2005. It was her idea to use themes, designs, and colors from the Inn’s Regency period décor for these special ornaments.

Many of the ornaments were handmade by Susan Rountree. Mrs. Rountree is an internationally renowned miniaturist, free-lance designer and author. All of the gold ornaments have been painted in a soft “leaf gold” color in keeping with the Inn’s décor. The tree topper, the Prince of Wales crown, was crafted by Carol Harrison with needlepoint in silk and metal threads.

We invite you to come by and see if you can find the following ornaments:

  • Oval Rings with Dried Flowers
    Follow the oval floral ring of the lobby rug which was selected by Mrs. Rockefeller.
  • Clear Glass Balls
    Were manufactured especially for the Inn and have been used since 1984.
  • Roping and Tassels
    Follow the theme of window treatments throughout the hotel.
  • Stars and Lyres
    Are found on tables in the lobby.
  • Cupids
    Are made of terracotta and were used extensively during the Regency period.
  • Mirrors
    Are copies of several ornate gilded mirrors found throughout the Inn. These ornaments are dollhouse miniatures and are two glued together to give balance and light.
  • Glass Icicles
    Are the only ornaments with no particular significance to the Inn. They were selected for their ability to reflect light.
  • Urns
    Were popular late 19th century containers and were very popular design elements. They are found on the handcrafted red satin, hand painted ovals used to replicate ceiling medallions as well as patterns in floor coverings and upholstery fabrics.
  • Gold Medallions
    Are dollhouse fixtures used to replicate ceiling medallions as well as patterns in floor coverings and upholstery fabrics.
  • Tapestries
    Are made of dollhouse wallpaper, in the 19th century “Brighton” design. The cornucopias are filled with natural materials. The elongated tasseled tapestries copy the shape of an early 19th century ladies purse called a reticule.
  • Striped Balls
    Were purchased for their background color and ribbon was added to coordinate with the Inn’s overall color scheme.
  • Gold Balls
    Were purchased for their soft gold color. This is an example of an ornament that has been adapted as an original design, by adding specially selected ribbon.