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MASTER CARVER: WILLIAM BERNARD SEARS

 
 

Stair Bracket, carvered by William Bernard SearsNot enough is known about William Bernard Sears considering his importance as an English carver working in the Virginia area.  Born in London, Sears’s exact age is uncertain.  According to his son’s recollections, George Mason indentured Sears to work on Gunston Hall.  Sears worked as the master carver charged with translating William Buckland’s designs into wood.  The bond between the two men was undoubtedly strong because they continued working together after completing Gunston Hall.  Sears worked with Buckland on the interiors of Mount Airy in 1761.  With Buckland’s move to Annapolis, their collaboration appears to have ended with Sears remaining in the Alexandria area.  A notation in 1772 for a purchase of carving and gilding tools acknowledges his abilities to do expensive finishes in addition to carving.  That same year he worked on two churches including Pohick Church.  Sears also worked at Mount Vernon, completing the chimney piece in the small dinning room in 1775 with Going Lanphire.  In 1777, Sears entered public service after being appointed Deputy Sheriff of Loudoun County until 1781.  It appears that he stopped working as a master carver about this time.  He died in 1818 and is buried in Alexandria.

 
 
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