In the interwar period, chartered accountant Percival D. Griffiths (1861–1937) formed what is today considered to be one of the finest collections of seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century English furniture and needlework amassed in the twentieth century. At Sandridgebury, his country house near St. Albans, Griffiths created an antiquarian fantasia, surrounding himself with masterpieces of walnut and mahogany, accented by hundreds of masterworks of the needle. While his collection of furniture is more widely known due to the extensive bibliography devoted to it by his advisor, scholar R.W. Symonds, Griffiths’s exceptional collection of Stuart and early Georgian needlework has remained, until now, far less recognized for its quality and significance. This alumni spotlight lecture, based on the author’s research for the recently published two-volume monograph on Griffiths, provides an overview of Griffiths as a man and collector, and explores the pivotal role he played in transforming the popular opinion of seventeenth-century needlework, from “grotesque” embarrassment to “glorious” source of national pride.
William DeGregorio is the co-author, with Christian Jussel, of The Percival D. Griffiths Collection: English Furniture 1680-1760; English Needlework 1600–1740 (Yale University Press, 2023). He earned a MA (2012) and PhD (2021) from Bard Graduate Center, with a dissertation devoted to the relationship between period rooms and costume at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). Previously he worked as a conservation technician at MCNY overseeing the assessment of its costume collection and as a research associate at Cora Ginsburg LLC. He has contributed to numerous exhibition projects and publications, including Arnold Scaasi: American Couturier (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2010), Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced (MCNY, 2013), Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s (Fashion Institute of Technology, 2014), and Mod New York: Fashion Takes A Trip (MCNY, 2018). While focusing materially on costume of the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, his academic research concerns the relationship between fashion and museums; the roles of collectors, dealers, and curators in shaping public collections; and exhibitions as sites of shifting epistemological discourse.

Covid Policies
Bard Graduate Center (BGC) Gallery’s policies reflect our commitment to create a safe and comfortable environment for everyone who visits our buildings. Our institution is mask-friendly; we support and encourage those who wish to wear one. All visitors must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and follow the safety guidelines and policies outlined below. BGC reserves the right to ask visitors who do not follow these guidelines to leave.

Stay home if you feel sick
Please do not visit BGC Gallery if you have a fever or any COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or have had close contact with anyone who is confirmed to have or suspected of having COVID-19.

Vaccination required
Bard Graduate Center requires up-to-date vaccination against COVID-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Social distancing is encouraged
We recommend keeping at least six feet from others not in your party when possible.

Follow signs and directions from BGC staff members
Follow the guidance of BGC staff, who are monitoring visitor traffic throughout the building. They are there to help keep everyone safe and comfortable. Visitors who do not follow posted instructions from our staff will be asked to leave.

Risk of exposure
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public space where people are present. By visiting BGC Gallery, you acknowledge and voluntarily assume all risk to any potential exposure to COVID-19.