By Stephanie Hanlon
By Stephanie Hanlon
ST. CROIX – Author Michael Connors will sign copies of his new book “Caribbean Houses: Histoty, Style, and Architecture,” at St Croix Landmark Society’s Estate Whin Plantation Museum today from 4 to 7 p.m.
The colorfully-illustrated book features the development of historically-significant houses that are located throughout the West Indies.
There are five chapters, each of which explores European influences on Caribbean architecture: The Spahish Antilles, the Dutch Leewards, the English Islands, the French Lesser Antilles and the Danish Virgin Islands.
The photos are accompanied by descriptions of each area’s architectural history and provide insight on the combination of European and Caribbean decoration. There are photos of both the interior and exterior of homes and feature tropical hardwoods, indigenous stone, local crafts, handiwork and antiques.
Connors said that much can be learned about history in general through architecture. The Caribbean is unique because although European colonizers brought the architectural styles of the country to the Caribbean islands, there had to be environmental modifications. And, with so many islands changing hands, many European styles have been combined. For instance, St. Croix is unique because influences from a variety of nations can be see and the strong Danish influence is prominent.
Connors called St. Croix “the best kept secret in the Caribbean,” and said some of its architectural integrety has been maintained because it is off the beaten path, lying just outside the Caribbean crescent.
In the Danish West Indies chapter of the book, both the Christiansted and Charlotte Amalie government houses are featured, as well as the Cane Garden Greathouse on the south shore of St. Croix and the Whim Greathouse on St. Croix.
Connors noted that this book is a lot more than just a coffee table book. Although the pictures do tell their own story, the 30,000 words tell an extensive history of different time periods and different cultures all seen through design and architecture.
Connors is originally from New York and is currently a resident of St. Croix and a part-time resident of Maine. He said he can’t go too long without being on St. Croix so he comes to the territory at least once a month. He was once an art teacher at the Sion Farm School, now Lew Muckel School and he now serves on the Whim Museum Board of Directors.
Connors has been writing and teaching on fine and decorative arts for more trhan 30 years. He received a Ph.D in decorative arts from New York University where he taught for 15 years. He also works as a consultant to dealers, designers, private collectors and museums.
During the signing this Saturday, Connors will discuss the book and answer participant’s questions. Proceeds made off the books sold at Whim will benefit the Landmarks Society so Connors is encouraging people to buy a copy at Whim rather than ordering it on Amazon.com.
For more information on the book signing, call Whim at 772-0598. For more information on Connors, visit his Web sitewww.michaelconnorsantiques.com.