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Tag Archives: History of Art & Antiques

How to Buy American Victorian Furniture: A Guide for New Collectors

Victorian Furniture | Ebonized Mahogany Chair

I’m seeing a trend in the Boston area when it comes to Victorian homes. Home-buying opportunities abound, and I’ve met more than a few “young collectors” who speak admiringly of the ornate woodwork, beautiful hardwood floors and unique build-ins of their new Victorian homes. Although they realize they purchased gems, what they might not have thought about is how affordable it is to furnish their new homes with period designs.

I’ve overheard it said that Victorian antiques and Boston don’t agree – but that’s certainly not true in my experience. New York City housed the biggest powerhouses of design and manufacture in latter part of the 19th century, including Herter Brothers and Pottier & Stymus, but Boston had plenty of purchasing power, and museums and collections are plentiful here. Most importantly for collectors, great buys can be had if you know what to look for.

Tour the Glass House: An Icon of Mid-Century Modern Design

“I have very expensive wallpaper,” Philip Johnson said of The Glass House, an iconic mid-century modern building he designed in New Canaan, Connecticut. Indeed, the “wallpaper” is the vast, unfolding landscape outside the clear glass walls of the house, featuring a pond, tall pines, and meandering stone walls.

Delightfully Designed: The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard

Nathan Lombard tall chest, on loan from Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

The Making of an Exhibit

Guest post by Christie Jackson, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, Old Sturbridge Village

The old proverb of “it takes a village to raise a child,” could easily be changed to: “it takes a Village to put on an exhibit.” On October 19, 2013, the exhibit Delightfully Designed: The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard will open at Old Sturbridge Village (OSV).… Read More

Federal Furniture: A Lady's Secretary and Bookcase Attributed to Thomas Seymour

Essay by Robert D. Mussey, Jr., Milton, Massachusetts

Federal Mahogany Carved and Inlaid Lady’s Secretary-bookcase to be offered in the October 27, 2013 American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction (Lot 186, Estimate $100,000-$150,000)

The lady’s secretary and bookcase was a cultural badge signifying a Boston lady of refinement and education during the Federal period. Mary Cleveland (Smith) Bryant (1784-1860) was such a lady.… Read More

Massachusetts Furniture: The Life and Times of Cabinetmaker William Munroe

Guest blog post by David Wood, Curator, Concord Museum

Account Book No. 2; 1816-1825, William Munroe (1778-1861); Gift of Mr. Charles P. Munroe and Mr. William M. Munroe; Concord Museum. William Munroe’s first and second account books are on view in the special exhibition.

I’ve spent a good part of the last year working on the exhibit: The Best Workman in the Shop:  Cabinetmaker William Munroe of Concord, and during my research I’ve gained insight into Munroe’s accomplishments as well as his frustrations.… Read More

Collecting American Pottery: Focus on Mochaware

Mochaware was everyday pottery in early America. The simple, geometric decorations and dynamic colors have remained timeless and popular since first made in England in the early 19th century. The August 11, 2013 American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction features a group of mochaware from private estates as well as other consignors. An early 19th-century barrel-form pitcher (lot 414, $500 to $700) and a silver-mounted mustard pot (lot 420, $300 to $500) are two examples of the variety of forms to be sold.… Read More

America’s Affair With The Ford V-8 Automobile Engine

The distinctive logo on a 1941 Ford V-8 Super Deluxe Five-passenger Coupe

In 1932, Ford began mass-producing the V-8 engine in America. Up until that time, only luxury cars had eight-cylinder engines. Henry Ford had been looking for a way to produce one of these powerful engines more efficiently.

Ford’s engineers used an existing light-weight four cylinder chassis with a 3.6 liter engine, which created a burst of power without the weight drag.… Read More

Dall’ Aglio and the Mantua School of Fine Violins

Between the old Mantua school, represented by Peter Guarneri, Camillo Camilli, and Tomasso Balestrieri, and the new Mantua school represented by Stefano Scarampella, the only notable maker working in Mantua in the early 19th century seems to be Giuseppe Dall’ Aglio.

Austrian Bronzes: A Collection of Figurines both Whimsical and Life-Like

Austrian Bronzes | Collectible Figurines

These whimsical cat and dog cold-painted bronze figures will be sold on December 13, 2012 at the Skinner Holiday Auction

Beginning in the late 19th century, miniature and table top bronze figures crafted in Vienna, Austria drew the attention of collectors in Europe and America. Vividly hand-painted in enamels, these finely detailed figures depicted life-like natural subjects, sometimes in cartoonish, satirical, or whimsical situations.… Read More

The Life of a Dress: Wearing Zandra Rhodes

Karen Keane, Skinner CEO, with Gloria Lieberman, Vice President, at the opening of Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Last week, Karen Keane and I met designer and fashion icon Zandra Rhodes for the first time at a lovely opening reception for the exhibit  Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop by – the show is on display until December 1, 2012.… Read More

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