Plantation Homes of the James River

By Bruce Roberts

With the editorial assistance of Elizabeth Kedash

Plantation Homes of the James River

128 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 135 color photos

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4278-2
    Published: April 1990

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Bruce Roberts takes us on a photographic tour of fourteen of the famous colonial Virginia plantation houses nestled along the shores of the Lower James River from Richmond east to Jamestown and Williamsburg. Now carefully restored, often with the original furnishings, these houses are glorious monuments to a bygone era.

If you have never visited the James River plantations, this book will inspire you to plan a trip there. If you have, you will find this book a wonderful memento of a special place. Robert's 141 color photographs capture the magnificent exteriors of the houses, as well as their gardens and grounds, and offer rare and intimate glimpses of their interiors and furnishings. The plantations portrayed include Shirley Plantation, one of the oldest in America; Belle Air Plantation, with its unique seventeenth-century frame house containing America's finest Jacobean staircase; and Westover Plantation, site of the elegant Georgian home built by William Byrd II.

The text provides histories of the plantations, presenting them as places where real people lived and worked -- and still do, in many cases. While the plantations share some common history, each reflects the individual characteristics of the men, women, and children who lived there. In the dining room at Berkeley Hundred, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and eight other presidents enjoyed meals and discussed affairs of state. At Carter's Grove, Roberts photographed the "Refusal Room," where, according to local history, both Washington and Jefferson were refused in marriage by Virginia belles.

Today many of the plantation homes have been designated state and national historic sites, and with this book you can visit them and relive four hundred years of history.

About the Author

Bruce Roberts is senior travel photographer for Southern Living. His photographs have appeared in Life, Time, Sports Illustrated, and countless books. Roberts has won numerous awards for his photography, some of which is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

For more information about Bruce Roberts, visit the Author Page.


“Armchair travelers, students of architecture and those who revel in more than four centuries of history can sit back and enjoy this sumptuous volume."--Chattanooga Times